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Super-Healthy, Super-Tasty Summer Salads!

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Here’s a rescue from the dull, bland salads most people tend to throw together at home—two scrumptious summer salad combos with nutrients that boost immunity, vision, heart and brain health…and more.

GREEN BEANS AND MINT

Green beans are not only an excellent source of fiber, they have carotenoids, which protect vision…kaempferol, a flavonoid that helps protect against cancer and reduce arterial stiffness…and catechins, which support your cardiovascular system and even aid weight loss by boosting metabolism.

Mint, an iconic cooling summer herb, stimulates the salivary glands, encouraging production of digestive enzymes. Bonus: Antibacterial properties of mint combat the bacteria that cause bad breath!

Thai Bean Salad

Serves four as a main dish.
6 handfuls green beans, trimmed
⅓ cup coconut milk
2 red chili peppers
1 cup each fresh basil and mint
¼ onion, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
3 ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, sliced diagonally
½ red onion, sliced thinly
¾ cup raw almonds, chopped

Cook beans in a medium-sized saucepan of boiling water for two to three minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to preserve their crunch. Set aside. In a food processor, combine coconut milk, chilies, basil, mint, chopped onion and lime juice. Blend to a smooth paste.

In a large serving bowl, toss beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. Gently stir in the paste. Top with thinly sliced red onion and almonds.

Boost it: Add a hard-boiled egg (chopped or sliced). The fat in eggs is particularly good at enhancing absorption of carotenoids.

PEPPERY SHRIMP AND PAPAYA

The sweet red peppers, succulent shrimp and creamy papaya in this flavorful salad are packed with health-promoting goodness.

Sweet red peppers add color, crunch and lots of vitamins and phytonutrients, such as anti-inflammatory quercetin, a pain reliever that also lowers blood pressure, boosts heart health and strengthens immunity…hesperidin, which supports the circulatory system and brain functioning…ferulic acid, an antiaging skin phytonutrient…and luteolin, which is protective against cognitive decline.

Shrimp provide protein plus selenium, a mineral that is not only important for thyroid health and cognitive functioning but also may help prevent cancer. Sweet, creamy papaya contains the enzyme papain, a natural digestive aid. Bonus: Papaya is high in fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut, helping to support your immune system.

Red Pepper, Shrimp and Papaya Salad

Serves two as a main dish.
Dressing:
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
10 ounces raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
1 medium papaya, peeled, seeded, cut in half lengthwise, then horizontally into C-shaped slices
Handful almonds or cashews
5 ounces baby arugula leaves
½ red onion, sliced
½ red pepper, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced diagonally
1 avocado, sliced
½ cup fresh basil and/or cilantro, chopped

Whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Place a large frying pan over high heat and add the coconut oil. Add the shrimp and chili flakes (if desired), and cook lightly, flipping the shrimp to cook all sides, for about five minutes—be careful not to overcook—until shrimp are just opaque. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.

Combine remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix. Divide salad between two plates and top each with shrimp. Liberally dress each salad and serve immediately.

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Source: Sophie Manolas, a clinical nutritionist with a private practice in New South Wales, Australia, who focuses on women’s health and hormonal issues. She is author of The Essential Edible Pharmacy: Heal Yourself from the Inside Out. The recipes in this article are excerpted from The Essential Edible Pharmacy with permission from Exisle Publishing. Photo of Thai Bean Salad courtesy of Kat Wray. Date: June 1, 2018 Publication: Bottom Line Health
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