Organic salads are a great way to add satisfying flavor and versatility to a healthful eating plan.

In fact, research shows salad eaters consume greater amounts of essential nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and folic acid.

Your goal: to build your salad wisely by choosing nourishing ingredients from the bottom up. Each topping has unique benefits, so be sure to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts.

  • Darker salad greens contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which battles certain cancers, and folic acid, which helps tissues grow. Most salad greens are also sources of vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
  • Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.
  • Carrots, yellow peppers and pineapple contain carotenoids, which reduce the risk of developing cancer.
  • Pecans supply more than 19 vitamins and minerals, are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and are a great source of protein. In addition, research suggests eating pecans may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol.
  • Blueberries and raisins are full of phytonutrients and antioxidants, which help protect you from some cancers and infections. They also boost brain health and vision.

Tune in tomorrow for our weekend recipe: Salmon Niçoise Salad. It features salmon, new potatoes, fresh green beans, hard-cooked eggs, pecans, olives, capers and tomatoes.

Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Association for Dressings & Sauces, National Pecan Shellers Association