5 fun facts about salads Over 20 million servings of salads are consumed every week.Store bought dressing which have excessive calories, saturated fats and sodium make salads unhealthy. We are eating 900 per cent more broccoli than we did 20 years ago.Caesar salad was not born in Italy, it was first created in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1920s by Alex Cardini, who made this salad at his brother Caesar's restaurant. It was originally named Aviator's Salad but it became popular and mimicked with the title “Caesar Salad”.Leonardo da Vinci was the first artist to depict salad in his paintings. In the painting Leda, 1504, a child, standing next to the goddess of fertility, poses with a bouquet of lamb's lettuce.Appetizer salads - served as a smaller portion of the first course of the mealSide salads - served as an accompaniment to the main course; examples include coleslaw or potato saladDinner salad or main course salads - usually containing a large portion of one or more types of high-protein foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, legumes, or cheeseDessert salads- containing fruits, sweeteners, gelatines or whipped cream they are sweet in tasteWhat's in a name?A salad is a dish consisting of mixed, maximum natural ingredients with at least one raw ingredient. They are typically served at room temperature or chilled, some can be served warm with different kinds of dressings.Salads are wholesome. They provide us with the freedom to pick and choose the ingredients according to our moods.Salads may be served at any point during a meal.Historical originsSalads first came about way back in the Ancient Roman period. The first salad consisted of raw vegetables and was topped with dressing made of oil and salt. The word salad got its roots from the word 'sal' which means 'salt' in Latin. Its adoption is believed to have grown out of the ancient Roman habit of dipping romaine lettuce in salt. The Romans quickly changed the tradition of just salting greens by dressing them with vinaigrettes, which they created out of simple combinations of olive oil, vinegar and salt.At the end of the 14th century, the experimentation with salads began. Many salads that were eaten and created during this era are much like the ones that we have today. Cooks for King Richard II made salads with an array of greens - parsley, sage, mint, watercress and fennel - tossed with garlic, chives, onions and leeks in a vinaigrette.Salad dressings have a long and colourful history, dating back to ancient times. The Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing greens nearly 2,000 years ago. Egyptians favoured a salad dressed with oil, vinegar and Asian spices. Mayonnaise is said to have been invented at a French nobleman's table Louis-Francois-Armad de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu celebrated the 1756 French capture of Mahon, a city on the Spanish Isle of Minorca, by enjoying a meal dressed with a mixture of egg yolks, oil and seasonings. .Types of saladsSalads could be either composed (ingredients specifically arranged on the serving dish) or tossed (ingredients placed in a bowl and mixed with salad dressing) or an antipasto plate (the first dish of a formal Italian meal, is similar to a composed salad, and has vegetables and cheese).Green saladA green salad or vegetable salad is most often composed of leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach or arugula or other vegetables such as cucumbers, peppers,tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, radishes, mushrooms, avocado, olives, watercress, parsley, beets, and green beans. Nuts, berries, seeds, and lentils can also be components of the salad, but these are less common components. Boiled eggs and cheeses may be used as garnishes, more likely in a dinner salad.Salad greens contain vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, calcium, folate, fibre, and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients can act as antioxidants, which help to prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.Leafy vegetables do not contain cholesterol and are naturally low in calories and sodium. These compounds are becoming recognized as part of a nutritious diet that promotes long-term health.Green leafy vegetables also benefit people with Diabetes due to their high magnesium and fiber content and low glycaemic index. .Bound saladsBound salads are assembled with thick sauces such as mayonnaise or cream, which will hold its shape when placed on a plate. Examples of bound salad include egg salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad and potato salad. These salads are also used as sandwich fillings.Dinner saladsDinner salads are also known as main course salads. This contains a wide variety of cheeses. Caesar salad, chef salad, cobb salad, Chinese salad, Michigan salad, and Pittsburgh salad are few examples of dinner salad.Fruit saladsFruit salads are made of fresh or canned fruits with added few herbs like pepper powder, honey, lime juice etc.Dessert saladsDessert salads are often sweet. These salads rarely include vegetables. Common variants are made with gelatine or whipped cream. Sometimes crumbled cookies are also added as an ingredient.Eat a salad every dayNutritional benefitsAn article by the Harvard School of Public Health quotes “A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood glucose which can help keep appetite in check”.Combining fruits and vegetables in a salad is both easy and delicious. The vitamins and minerals, contained in both will increase the level of antioxidants in your blood. Leafy greens and raw veggies are a superb source of natural fibre which helps to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol and to control blood glucose levels. Add a couple of tablespoons of mixed raw or roasted seeds like pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and ground flax or chia to boost your daily intake of good fats. Slicing a quarter of an avocado and adding it to your greens will make the salad healthier.Weight controlAdding a healthy fat to your salad via the dressing, or by adding healthy raw nuts or avocado will also make it more filling, as fats are among the most satiating.Stronger bonesVitamin K found in green leafy vegetables is essential for having good bone mineral density. A recommended full daily serving can be found in just 1 cup of watercress (100 per cent), radicchio (120 per cent) or spinach (170 per cent).Protect your eyesThe carotenoids found in the green leafy vegetables like spinach, romaine and red lettuce help eyes adjust from bright to dark and to filter out high intensity light levels, protecting them from the formation of damaging free radicals.Improves muscle performanceThe nutrients found in spinach improves the performance of the mitochondria which are responsible for producing energy, as well as informing and powering our muscles.Heart protectiveRomaine lettuce contains significant levels of folate which assist in the prevention of stroke and cardiovascular disease.Improves skin toneThe high levels of water found in salad veggies improves hydration in our bodies which protects youthful skin tone and various basic bodily functions. .Salad dressingA salad dressing is a sauce added to flavour a salad. Most salad dressings are based on either a mixture of oil and vinegar or a creamy dairy base used on different types of salads such as - vegetable salads, potato salads, pasta salads, etc. Prepared salad dressings can be high in fat and sodium and are often a hidden source of extra sugar. Large amounts of prepared salad dressing or toppings such as cheese, dried fruits and croutons can turn a healthy salad into a very high-calorie meal. Mixing vinegar with olive oil or another vegetable oil is a good base for homemade dressings. Salad dressings can be added and tossed with the ingredients, drizzled over a salad or served as a dip. Types of dressing used are balsamic, ranch, French, Caesar, thousand island, Italian, ginger dressing, honey mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon or red wine vinaigrette.Two basic types of salad dressing are:Vinaigrettes based - mixture of oil and vinegar flavoured with herbs, spices, salt, pepper, sugar, and other ingredients such as poppy seeds, cheese, etc.Creamy dressings - based on mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, ranch.Are salad dressings healthy?By choosing the right ingredients, you can prepare a salad that's delicious and nutritious. The right toppings can create a healthy salad, loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, and good carbs. Right ingredients can help to have good satiety and weight loss.But few ingredients can be a source of extra calories, unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar.Dressings like ranch, mayo, cheese, cream are often high in calories, unhealthy saturated fat, and sodium. Small amounts of dressing can be added, however, if you overdo it with high-fat or high-sugar ingredients, it may exceed your daily calorie needs and contribute to weight gain.Among the worst offenders are readymade salad dressings which are high in fructose corn syrup for flavour and processed trans fats to prolong shelf life. Low-fat dressings usually have increased sugar levels, with fructose added to compensate for the loss of flavour. The excess fructose drives insulin and leptin resistance both of which are reasons for onset of Diabetes and other chronic diseases.Tips to prepare healthy saladsChoose colourful and darker veggies such as dark green lettuce, kale, spinach for its maximum disease-fighting nutrients. Add a variety of high-fibre ingredients such as beans and other raw vegetables.Use lean proteins such as eggs, beans or nutsUse homemade dressing with added fats in moderation- make your own healthy dressing, with heart-healthy unsaturated fat- olive oil, lime juice, herbs, pepper, honey, salt etc. You can also add nuts, seeds, and avocado to include healthy fats. This will help your body to make the most of the fat- soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K.Try avoiding full-fat cheese, salted or candied nuts and fried bread (croutons). This will add extra fats to the saladsIf your salad is going to be your main course, make it a balanced meal with the addition of some lean protein. Good quality protein sources for serving with your greens include sprouts, tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds as well as low-fat cheeses, cottage cheese and yogurt.5-step saladFive quick and easy steps for making the perfect salad-Step 1: Choose your salad baseA salad can be made with just one or multiple leafy greens, with neutral tasting and compatible with any salad ingredient and salad dressing. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Iceberg lettuce, watercress, arugula, leaf lettuce.Step 2: Choose your proteinAdding a protein to a salad makes the salad more filling and satisfying, especially, if your salad is for dinner as the main meal. Add your protein options by using different herbs and spices.Options - Boiled eggs, cheese, beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, brown rice, quinoa.Step 3: Choose your other vegetables and fruitsFruits and vegetables add beautiful colour, texture and amazing flavours to your salads along with healthful vitamins and nutrients to your salad. Be creative to add more colours to your salad. Fruits like apples, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cherries, avocados, pineapples, pomegranates, bananas, oranges, plums, apricots, olives. Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, onions, celery, mushrooms, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, beets, sweet potatoes, carrotsStep 4: Choose your toppingsChoose toppings to your liking, or match them up with the flavour profile of your salad such as dried cranberries, raisins, dried fruit, nuts, seeds (flax/chia), cheese, olives.Step 5: Choose your dressingThere are so many options for dressings. You can choose a simple salad dressing of olive oil and lemon juice, with a pinch of salt. Match up your dressing with the type of salad you are making.