Not everyone knows that eating a salad before meals helps avoid bloating, digest better, and lose weight. Let’s find out why it is good to eat vegetables at the beginning of a meal and prepare a healthy and complete salad. Consuming salad before meals brings multiple benefits: it facilitates digestion and thus prevents fermentation processes, promotes a prolonged sense of satiety with a beneficial effect on body weight and counteracts glycemic peaks. As we know, a healthy diet should include 5-7 daily servings of vegetables and fruit. Although it is common practice to serve vegetables as the last course, or in combination with other foods, it is more correct and healthy to eat them before meals.
The importance of the choice not to relegate these foods to a marginal role as a side dish to make them a first course, on the contrary, derives from the nutritional composition shared by the various species of salad, characterised by a high percentage of water, vitamins (especially A, B, C, E), fibres, polyphenols, flavonoids, lycopene and mineral salts (calcium, magnesium, iron), a meagre percentage of carbohydrates and the absence of fats. Therefore, it is a healthy, low-calorie food rich in antioxidants, detoxifying, and anti-ageing properties. Let’s see in more detail the benefits of eating a salad before meals and the ingredients of a perfect, complete and tasty salad.
Why Is Eating A Salad Before Meals Good For You?
Eating vegetables at the beginning of lunch or dinner is essential as their properties are enhanced. Let’s see below the benefits of consuming salad before meals.
It Helps To Fill Up Sooner
Vegetable fibres have a higher satiety index than other nutrients: this means that the foods that contain them, such as salad, satisfy the hunger to a greater extent and lead to eating smaller quantities of food in the two hours following their ingestion. Eating salad and vegetables at the beginning of the meal, therefore, helps to promote a prolonged sense of satiety and fullness.
Increases The Absorption Of Nutrients
When the stomach is empty, the absorption of nutrients in food occurs more easily; eating the salad before meals allows the body to promote and increase the body’s assimilation of the fibres, mineral salts and vitamins contained in vegetables, made more immediately available being consumed first.
Counteracts Swelling After Meals
Vegetables, like fruit, are digested much faster than other foods; consuming vegetables as a first course and not together with the foods of subsequent studies ensures that they are not “captured” in long digestive processes and do not stay in the intestine, causing fermentation and bloating. Eating salad before meals allows the body to benefit from the stimulating action exerted by the fibres on digestion and intestinal peristalsis; at the same time, assimilating fibre on an empty stomach helps prevent constipation and the bloating it can cause.
Vegetables facilitate digestion not only by their nutritional composition, which in addition to water and fibre also includes oxalic, ascorbic and malic acids, which are essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system, but also thanks to enzymes that favour the “breakdown “of the constituents of foods and their direct and rapid assimilation. Inserting a plate of salad as a first course will make the whole meal more digestible, avoiding a slowdown in digestion and preventing disorders such as dyspepsia and gastroesophageal reflux.
It Does Not Raise Your Blood Sugar
The vegetable fibres of the vegetables taken at the beginning of the meal favour a balanced and gradual absorption of the fats and carbohydrates in the foods consumed in the following courses and consequently maintenance of normal glucose levels. This is why salad before meals helps prevent insulin spikes and type 2 diabetes and contain those inflammatory disorders that can be linked to an imbalance in the hormone insulin level.
It Helps To Lose Weight
Eating salad as a first course helps lose weight because it makes the nutrients with antioxidant, detoxifying and metabolic stimulating properties immediately available to the body. Furthermore, as we have seen, by assimilating vegetable fibres on an empty stomach, we will feel more satiated and be induced to consume the foods of the following courses in less quantity; the result is a reduction in the calorie intake of the entire meal. On the other hand, it is true that the gradual absorption of sugars and fats, favoured by the fibres of the vegetables, will help prevent the formation of fat.
It Helps To eat More Vegetables
As some studies have confirmed, the foods brought to the table as a first course are those that are consumed in more significant quantities, also because it is the moment when the appetite is most excellent; eating a salad before meals, therefore, helps to leave more space in our diet for healthy food, and to limit the quantities of foods, such as pasta or cereals or sweets, included as a second and third course.
What Ingredients To Choose For A Perfect Salad?
To be complete, healthy, and tasty, the perfect salad must be prepared by mixing various types of vegetables to offer our body a more comprehensive range of nutrients. Vegetables such as lettuce, rocket, valerian, endive and endive are ideal. To these, we combine crunchy vegetables to choose from sauerkraut, green beans, celery, courgettes or cucumbers, without forgetting vegetables of different colours (Tropea red onion, tomatoes, radishes, carrot). To give a tasty and healthy touch, we can add oilseeds ( sunflower, pumpkin, sesame), dried fruit and chopped avocado. Let’s not also forget grain corn, aromatic herbs and spices.
We can use apple or balsamic vinegar for the dressing, perhaps emulsified with lemon juice (which helps to better assimilate the iron contained in vegetables) and extra virgin olive oil, whole salt, or pink Himalayan salt. To fully benefit from the nutritional principles contained in vegetables, the addition of good fats such as olive oil is essential because the antioxidants in the salad are assimilated by the body only if they are absorbed through fatty substances.