Eating Salad Every Day Makes Your Brain 11 Years Younger!

A recent study published in the Journal of Neurology of almost 1,000 seniors found that those who ate a serving of leafy greens every day, over a span of 4.7 years, were the equivalent of being 11-years younger in brain age!

But salads do far more than just maintain memory and sharpen thinking skills. Another study by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that those who ate salad every day had higher reports of vitamins A, B-6, C, E, K, choline, magnesium, and potassium, and folate. Natural forms of folate are crucial for maintaining proper methylating pathways in the body. This is especially important for those who are methylating compromised… those who have MTHFR genetic mutations, which is close to half the population!

If you are not methylating properly, you are not detoxing properly… and your body is at greater risk for disease. So, salad up! And while you’re at it… get even more folate by throwing some beans or lentils on that salad. Those are two other incredibly folate-rich foods.

Salads are also a great source of fiber, which can aid digestion and help burn calories.  Yes, merely the act of digesting fiber allows your body to burn more calories since fiber causes your bowels to work harder. This increases the muscle tone to your intestines that enables food to pass through.  With better working muscles, you burn more calories even while at rest, and of course… better muscle tone also means better blood sugar levels. Bonus… fiber keeps you full for much longer.


The Dark Side to Salads:


While it’s clear that eating leafy greens (the darker in color the better) offers many benefits and they’re an important part of a healthy lifestyle. There is a not-so-great side to salad eating, one that is not helpful to waistlines and not at all helpful to blood sugar. In the same study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the researchers noticed no difference in energy, protein, and carbohydrates between salad and non-salad reporters, despite the higher nutrient intake from leafy greens.

Not all salads are created equal. Salads should be and can easily be made slimming as well as nutritious. Instead, they are too often loaded with processed dressings that contain hidden sugars, not so wonderful oils, junky carb toppings like croutons or tortilla chips, and an overabundance of high-calorie toppings such as nuts and cheese. There is definitely a place for nuts (and cheese if you are not dairy sensitive) on salads, but a place doesn’t mean throwing them all on with abandon! So please don’t get us wrong… we’re not afraid of fats on Trim Healthy Mama! The key is to embrace them wisely rather than abuse them. If you’re having nuts, perhaps skip or go light on the cheese this time. If you’re generous with cheese, limit the nuts to 1 Tablespoon or so. If you’re opting for a creamy dressing, garnish with a little grated parmesan cheese instead of big cubes or shreds of cheddar.

Avoid adding regular bread croutons to your salads. These will not help you slim down since they aren’t usually made with sprouted whole flours, and they can also be high in both carbs and fats. But don’t worry – we have a delicious alternative in one of our recipe books (keep reading below).  Or top them with awesomely crunchy and blood sugar-friendly Shameless Crackers.

And change up your salads from time to time. Don’t always make them S meals (salads that celebrate fats). Remember to get enough E’s in (salads that celebrate healthy carbs). If you’re trying to lose some stubborn pounds, even make a few FP salads from time to time (salad that pulls back on both fats and carbs… think lean protein, lean dressing, and berries with just a couple teaspoons of nuts – yum!).

Always center your salads around protein. Meat and fish are wonderful proteins for salad because leafy greens offer almost every nutrient except vitamin B12, which is almost exclusively found in animal-sourced foods, and meat offers every vitamin except vitamin C, which is found in high amounts in greens. Salad and meats are, therefore, soul mates. They need each other and enhance one another. Pair the two together, and you’ve got an all-around nutrient-packed meal! But let’s not forget God’s other proteins from the plant kingdom. Beans and lentils, as we mentioned before, offer folate, but they also offer wonderful protein. Tempeh is another superfood from the plant kingdom and a wonderful source of nutty-tasting protein.

While protein is important to remember… salad is about the greens! Go BIG with the greens! You don’t need to do huge amounts of protein. Four to eight ounces is plenty. It all depends upon which season of life you are in. More mature women may want to go with a lower amount of protein as they usually burn fuel slower, while younger women, very active women, or those who are nursing or pregnant will need more. But all of us need large amounts of greens. Pile your bowl or plate and become one of those crazy huge salad eaters for your health and waistline!


5 Simple Ideas to Make Your Salads Non-boring and Slimming!


1. For a Trimming S-style Salad (one that celebrates fats)…


  • Grill some chicken (or panfry in a lightly oil-sprayed skillet) seasoned with mineral salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, liquid aminos, and a little nutritional yeast. Or simply season it with Creole seasoning or Hubby Lovin’ Seasoning (click here for the recipe).
  • After the chicken is cooked, take it out and use the same pan to sauté a handful of raw walnuts. Season them with mineral salt, black pepper, liquid aminos, garlic, nutritional yeast, and cayenne pepper (make them as spicy as you like!).
  • Toss them on the heat until the walnuts look slightly charred and they’re extra crunchy. Take off the heat.
  • Fill a large salad bowl with leafy greens like lettuce and spinach… pile them HIGH!
  • Top with the grilled chicken and spicy walnuts. Then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and optional diced cherry tomatoes. (Use a bit more balsamic than you do oil so that you’re not abusing the gift of good fat, but you’re still enjoying it!)
  • Optional – top with a little Parmesan cheese.

2. Another Idea for a Trimming S-style Salad…


  • Fill a HUGE bowl or dinner plate with leafy greens and top with 2 teaspoons MCT or extra virgin olive oil.
  • Add a full half bunch of finely chopped cilantro and toss all the greens well in the oil.
  • Add half a sliced avocado and 2 sliced boiled eggs. Sprinkle on some mineral salt and pepper and fresh lime juice from a couple limes to give a fantastic burst of flavor.
  • Optional – sprinkle on some bacon bits to give more crunch.

3. Idea for a Trimming E-style Salad (one that celebrates healthy carbs)…


  • Fill a HUGE bowl or dinner plate with leafy greens and top with 1% cottage cheese, diced apple, optional dried cranberries (which are sugar-free from page 243 in the recipe book Trim Healthy Future), grilled chicken, and grated carrots. (If you are dairy-free, skip the cottage cheese.)
  • Add 2 teaspoons of any type of finely chopped nuts. R’s Candied Pecans (Trim Healthy Future, page 309) add a lovely sweet crunch. Don’t forget to keep nuts limited for an E setting.
  • Dress with your choice of vinegar mixed with some Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or mineral salt and optional stevia or monk fruit sweetener to taste.

4. Another Idea for a Trimming E-style Salad…


  • Fill a bowl or large dinner plate super HIGH with leafy greens. Massage the greens with 1 teaspoon MCT or olive oil so they get a little softened, coated, and succulent. Add 1 Tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and some optional hot sauce and toss leaves in this simple dressing.
  • Pile on 3/4 to 1 cup of your favorite cooked beans such as black beans, then add chopped tomato, chopped onion, and 2 to 3-ounces drained pouch of tuna or lean chicken (feel free to heat the tomato, onion, and tuna if preferred for a hot-style salad).
  • Top with optional nutritional yeast and plenty of mineral salt and pepper to your preference.

5. For a Trimming FP-style Salad (one that pulls back on both fats and carbs)…


  • Fill a bowl or large plate sky HIGH with leafy greens. Top with a simple dressing of drizzles of balsamic or lemon juice with added stevia or monk fruit sweetener to taste and some liquid aminos or mineral salt for a savory balance.
  • Add 1/2 cup fresh or thawed from frozen blueberries or 1 full cup of fresh or thawed from frozen raspberries or chopped strawberries.
  • Add 2 to 3-ounces drained pouch of tuna or chicken breast, then top with 2 teaspoons crunchy, finely chopped nuts. Done!


Additional Trimming Salad Recipes from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbooks:


Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

  • Trim Mac Salad (S) – THM, pg 181
  • Zesty Southwestern Chop Up (S) – THM, pg 182
  • Grand Greek Salad (S) – THM, pg 183
  • Taco Salad (S) – THM, pg 184
  • Small-Budget Big-Taste Salad (E) – THM, pg 185
  • Salads in a Jar (S, E, & FP) – THM, pgs 187 – 189
  • Three-Minute Sensational Salad (S) – THM, pg 191
  • Superfood Loaded Salad (S) – THM, pg 192

Trim Healthy Table

  • Ten-Minute Chinese Chicken Salad (S) – THT, pg 199
  • Ranch Hand Taco Salad (E) – THT, pg 200
  • Smoked Sausage Salad (S) – THT, pg 203
  • Slender Slaw (S) – THT, pg 266
  • Tzatziki Cucumber Salad (FP) – THT, pg 266
  • Thai Kissed Cucumber Salad (FP) – THT, pg 268
  • Melissa’s Amish Broccoli Salad (S) – THT, pg 271
  • Cherries on Top Chicken Salad (E) – THT, pg 305
  • Hot Bacon and Egg Salad (S) – THT, pg 307
  • Quick Rip Hearty Kale Salad (E, FP, S) – THT, pg 308

Trim Healthy Future

  • Avocado Bacon Pasta Salad (S) – THF, pg 206
  • Sunshine Salad (E) – THF, pg 207
  • Speedy Cuke Salad (FP) – THF, pg 208
  • R’s #1 Salad (S) – THF, pg 209
  • Hawaiian Salad (E) – THF, pg 210
  • Nut Smart Salad (S) – THF, pg 211
  • Red Revival Salad (S) – THF, pg 213
  • Black is Beautiful Salad (E) – THF, pg 215


Salad Toppings & Dressings from the Cookbooks:


Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook

  • Zesty Avo Cream Dressing (S) – THM, pg 471
  • Rohnda’s Ranch Dressing (S) – THM, pg 471
  • Thousand Island Dressing (S) – THM, pg 472
  • Tangy and Sweet Vinaigrette (S) – THM, pg 472
  • Honey Mustard Dressing (S) – THM, pg 472
  • Slim Belly Vinaigrette (FP) – THM, pg 474
  • Tahini Dressing (S) – THM, pg 474
  • Grand Greek Dressing (S) – THM, pg 475
  • Blendtons (Crouton Substitute) (FP) – THM, pg 476
  • Superfood Salad Sprinkles (S) – THM, pg 493

Trim Healthy Table

  • Ranch Trimmy Dressing (FP, S) – THT, pg 527
  • Honey-Mustard Trimmy Dressing (S) – THT, pg 527
  • Thousand Island Trimmy Dressing (FP) – THT, pg 529
  • Caesar Trimmy Dressing (S) – THT, pg 529
  • Tahini Trimmy Dressing (S) – THT, pg 530
  • Italian Trimmy Dressing (FP) – THT, pg 531
  • Greek Trimmy Dressing (S) – THT, pg 532
  • Crazy Kombucha Trimmy Dressing (FP) – THT, pg 533

Trim Healthy Future

  • Dried Cranberries (FP) – THF, pg 243
  • R’s Candied Pecans (S) – THF, pg 308
  • Orange Sesame Dressing (FP) – THF, pg 360
  • Tangy Wangy Dressing (S) – THF, pg 361
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette (FP) – THF, pg 363
  • Spunky Ginger Dressing (S) – THF, pg 364
  • Sun Basking Basil Dressing (S) – THF, pg 365