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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Health benefits of salad dressings

Dr Anjali Mukerjee, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 12, 2013
First Published: 17:23 IST(12/3/2013) | Last Updated: 19:10 IST(16/3/2013)

What are the benefits of sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic in a salad?
Both sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic are flavour-enhancing herbs with remarkable medicinal properties. Garlic is a good cardiovascular tonic, a powerful germicide, it exhibits blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering properties and prevents blood platelet aggregation. Sun-dried tomatoes are rich in lycopene — the antioxidant that helps prevent breast cancer. They have an intense tomato flavour, brilliant red colour and a chewy texture, making it a good choice for salad and sauce preparations. They are also rich in iron, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin A, B and C. The sun-drying process removes water from the tomatoes, concentrating the flavour and nutrient content of the tomatoes.

Is there an easy substitute for mayonnaise? How can this be used in salads like coleslaw and Russian salad?
Yes, it is quite simple to make your own low-calorie salad dressing by substituting high-calorie ingredients (mayonnaise, cream, white sauce) with lower calorie ingredients that taste similar and are healthier. An amazing substitute for mayonnaise as a salad dressing are hung curds. You need to simply drain the whey from the curd and add mustard powder, pepper and salt, whip it up to the right consistency and add it to the coleslaw and Russian salad. Other examples of low-calorie salad dressings for your favourite salads may be lime juice, vinegar and honey, buttermilk, olive oil and herbs like coriander, mint, chopped garlic and chilli flakes.

What are the health benefits of herbs such as parsley, basil and mint in salads?
A sprig of parsley, mint or basil can provide much more than decoration on your salad plate. Parsley has diuretic properties and can
be used by those suffering from water retention. The flavonoids in parsley, especially luteolin, have been shown to function as antioxidants that help to prevent cellular damage. In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley and basil are excellent sources of iron, folic acid and vitamin A and C. Mint has been shown to relieve symptoms of indigestion, respiratory tract disorders, asthma
and allergic conditions. It has carminative properties and is also rich in chlorophyll, which is a blood purifier. Basil leaves are used as lung cleansers. They reduce mucus and help prevent asthma attacks.

What are the benefits of olive oil? Can it be substituted by any other oil?
Olive oil is ri ch in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, squalene and vitamin E. Olive oil contains a compound called oleuropein, which prevents the bad cholesterol from oxidising. You may substitute olive oil with either rice bran oil, til oil or canola oil.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition  counselling centre.  


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