Build A Better Salad

By Nicole Duncan

Want to boost brain health or eat to beat cancer? Make yourself a salad. Beth Reardon, RD, LDN, at Duke Integrative Medicine, helps you customize your greens.

Immune-boosting salad. Mix in either shiitake or maitake mushrooms to amp up an Asian salad. Their polysaccharide content enhances the immune system by stimulating the body’s production of T and NK cells, which destroy virus-infected cells while protecting healthy ones.

Anticancer salad. Incorporate raw crucifers: broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Their phytochemicals may inhibit the spread of cancer, help your liver detoxify the body, and shift your body’s estrogen metabolism to slow down the growth of cancerous cells. Tip: Use an olive oil–based dressing to increase absorption of these phytochemicals.

Brainiac salad. Toss some grilled salmon and blueberries into a spinach salad. Eating wild salmon—high in anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA—twice a week may reduce mental decline by up to 13 percent. Adding blueberries may further reverse age-related short-term memory loss