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10 Astonishingly Healthy Salad Ingredients You’re Probably Missing Out On

10 Astonishingly Healthy Salad Ingredients You’re Probably Missing Out On

Everyone knows that a healthy salad is a great way to pack in those all-important servings of vegetables. However, just sticking to the simple lettuce, tomato and carrot routine really isn’t doing you any favors. There’s a whole world of salad opportunity out there, and some additions to your healthy salad ingredients can actually give you a huge nutritional boost. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to big up your salad bowl, try investigating these surprisingly simple yet astoundingly healthy additions.

1. Edamame

edamame

    If you’re a lover of Japanese cuisine, chances are you’ve already been munching on these little babies at your favorite sushi palace. However, did you know they’re also a nutritional powerhouse? One cup means you’ve just gotten 20–40% of your daily intake of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, folate and vitamin K. These are regularly sold in the frozen section of many supermarkets now, meaning you can just steam them up, slide them out of their pods (the pods aren’t edible) and start chowing down. Delicious and nutritious? We’re definitely down with that.

    2. Coconut Oil

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    coconut

      If you’re one of those clever health nuts that makes their own salad dressings, you’ve probably come to rely on your old pal, olive oil. However, did you know that coconut oil actually has some excellent healthy benefits you might be missing out on? This little wonder can boost your thyroid function, help to rev up your metabolism, energy and endurance. It’s also great for those with digestive problems. If you’re worried about your cholesterol, coconut oil is also excellent for boosting the good HDL’s in your bloodstream, bringing your cholesterol ratio levels into check. Just because you’re using coconut oil doesn’t mean that you’re salad is going to always taste like a suntan, either. There are new liquid versions on the market that are flavorless and odorless, giving you all of the benefits without all the tropical breezes.

      3. Seeds

      sunflower seeds

        Sunflower, chia, sesame, pumpkin, flax and pomegranate seeds all make an excellent, crunchy topper to your salad. But did you know you’re also getting a mega-dose of nutrients right along with that flavor? Eating more seeds has been bubbling up with those in the nutritional know for the past several years as a great way to get a big dose of fiber, omega-3’s and protein for very little caloric intake. According to some weight loss experts, getting more fiber in your diet is a big key to boosting your metabolism. While we’re not recommending you go out and start eating your Chia Pet for the nutritional benefits; instead, try looking in your local health food shop for a wide assortment.

        4. Beans

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        beans

          One of the world’s cheapest sources of protein and fiber, beans can keep you full until dinnertime and steer you away from that afternoon cookie craving. While occasionally buying beans dry and soaking them overnight is more economical, having a selection of canned beans on hand means you’re never without a buddy for your salad. Try marinating them as a salad on their own, or even create you’re very own vegan bean burger to crumble on top for a super-filling lunch or dinner. Don’t be afraid to try mixing it up, either. Chickpeas, black beans and kidney beans are all very much at home in a salad, and a cheap and healthy alternative to meat.

          5. Nuts

          nuts2

            If you’re one of the millions of people who are allergic to nuts, then you may just want to go ahead and skip this section. However, if you’re just fine with a handful of nuts, then jump on board and get sprinkling. Nuts are full of vitamin E and other essential nutrients that are great for your skin. They’re also terrific for filling you up and giving you an important boost of protein in your salad. A hot tip: look for nuts that are unsalted and as close to their raw state as possible for the maximum nutritional benefit (i.e. unroasted). Some particularly great salad pals include walnuts, almonds and even chopped peanuts to get an Asian-salad thing working.

            6. Spinach

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            spinach

              Do you really think Popeye would lie to you? Swapping out your regular, nutritionally sparse iceberg lettuce for something more interesting like spinach can really turn your salad around. Loaded with iron, another surprisingly benefit from this leafy green is that’s it’s also outstanding for those who have skin problems, as it’s loaded with nutrients for healthy skin. Not sure you’re ready for the change? Try a mix of spinach with your favorite lettuces to get yourself into the nutritional groove.

              7. Cabbage

              cabbage

                While we’re on the topic of mixing up your leaves, then now’s as good a time as any to turn an eye to the much-maligned but incredibly delicious cabbage. Cabbage comes in all sorts of colors, including purple, white and green, meaning you can pretty up your salad into an eye catching lunch or dinner you can’t wait to dive into. Eating cabbage is also somewhat like taking a multivitamin, as it’s loaded with goodies like calcium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, iron and magnesium. It’s also so low in calories, it almost shouldn’t count. Try marinating thinly sliced cabbage with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a spoonful or two of tahini, some fresh garlic and a little olive oil for a truly Middle Eastern delight.

                8. Avocado

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                avocado

                  We’ve already been over how mind-blowingly delicious and super-nutritious these little fruits are in previous articles, but are you remembering that all that goodness can also fit into your salad bowl? Loaded with heart-boosting mono-unsaturated fat, a great source of fiber and teeming with over 20 essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, just simply throwing a chopped avocado in with your usual salad can really give you a huge boost. Additionally, you can make excellent dressings by using avocado, thus cutting out most of the fat and calories in your bowl.

                  9. Kale

                  Kale

                    Kale’s been the frontrunner in the superfood stakes of late, and deservedly so. As a dark, leafy green, it’s one of the foods you should be eating regularly, and working it into your salad routine isn’t hard at all once you’ve got the knack. Eating a cup of kale is like getting a direct shot of important antioxidants, iron, vitamin K and other important nutritional benefits. It’s also low in calories and high in important fiber. Try adding it chopped and raw to your salad mix, or you can even try crumbling kale chips on top of your salad for added crunch. Finally, you can even make a dressing out of it that’s somewhat in line with pesto. Just try loosening it with a little extra oil or even some added lemon juice.

                    10. Quinoa

                    quinoa

                      One of the best things you can do for your salad (and to keep yourself interested in eating healthy) is to look for textural contrasts, great colors and different flavors. Quinoa can help you check all of these boxes, giving a slightly nutty taste while diversifying your salad plate. Though it’s often referred to as a healthy whole grain, it’s actually a sprouted seed. It’s also the most perfect food for those looking to pack in the protein, particularly vegetarians and vegans, as it has the full range of the 9 amino acids to make it a complete protein. If you’ve never made quinoa before, try watching this tutorial video for getting it right every single time, then start playing with your flavors. It can go sweet or savory, making it not only the perfect healthy salad addition, but also a great anytime snack.

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                      Last Updated on November 9, 2020

                      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                      10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                      Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

                      Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

                      Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

                      If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

                      Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

                      1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

                      Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

                      Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

                      Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

                      2. No Motivation

                      Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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                      This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

                      If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

                      3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

                      Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

                      A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

                      A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

                      The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

                      4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

                      One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

                      We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

                      Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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                      You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

                      5. Upward Comparisons

                      Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

                      The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

                      These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

                      Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

                      6. No Alternative

                      This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

                      Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

                      Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

                      Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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                      7. Stress

                      As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

                      When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

                      We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

                      If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

                      8. Sense of Failure

                      People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

                      Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

                      Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

                      If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

                      9. The Need to Be All-New

                      People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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                      These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

                      10. Force of Habit

                      Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

                      Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

                      These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

                      Final Thoughts

                      These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

                      There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

                      More on Breaking Bad Habits

                      Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
                      [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
                      [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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