BY FABIAN ODUM
THE Yuletide season of intense eating and drinking is setting in and so there will be much of salad-consuming events.
Much as it represents a good means of boosting the nutrient level of the body, it is easily a source of health concern when poorly stored, after the preparation with the cream, for significant length of time.
It remains one of the best ways to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
Although salad leaves are very low in calories and are more than 90 per cent water, they still provides the essential and important nutrients like vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, iron and folic acid.
Lettuce, a major ingredient of making salad, not only gives you a healthy dose of antioxidants but also increases the satiety value of the food thus preventing the eater from indulging in unhealthy eating habits.
It forms an important ingredient of weight reducing diet, if taken in the raw form. Although an indulgent heavy eater, who is not mindful of adding more flesh can even prepare a tempting lettuce salad with fatty salad–dressings.
IN buying the lettuce, pick the ones that are fresh and crisp. Avoid the limp and yellow ones as they are of no value.
The golden rule for lettuce is: the darker the leaf, the higher its nutritional value. It would be nutritionally expedient to consume the lettuce as soon as possible.
You can combine various leaves of contrasting colors, textures and flavors for mouth–watering salad preparation. Instead of cutting, tear the leaves, and pour the dressing as and when you are hungry and ready to eat.
The lettuce leaves can be mixed with other fresh produce, meats and cheeses in salads and prepare a healthy, low calorie dish and quadruple its benefits.
Remember that eating a large bowl of fresh leaves in your diet on daily basis helps in calming the nervousness plus offering you a sound restful sleep too.
Salad leaves, which are deeply pigmented, helps in preventing degenerative diseases.
Raw spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene, folic acid and vitamin C.
Salad Dressing And Food Safety
Food poisoning can be avoided if certain basics about food perishability are known. Salad dressing requires cream or mayonnaise but they are acidic in nature due to the presence of vinegar or lemon juice. These act as preservative.
Food which can be so dressed include potatoes, sandwiches, eggs and chicken. These are low in acid and prone to infection by bacteria (leading to food poisoning). These foods should be taken out of the refrigerator moments before they are consumed and kept in insulated cooler laced with ice cubes or blocks.
With lemon and vinegar dressing in salad dressing, spoilage is not as quick in contrast to low acid foods that spoil more easily.
On a general note, it is better to serve yourself with the cream just before eating or leave it out entirely.