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9 Myths About Your Salad

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Myth #5: Go for the Green.

Colorful, allvegetable salads offer goodforyou phytonutrients that aren't available in greens. For instance, powerful antioxidants (anthocyanins) in purplish vegetables such as eggplant help reduce heartdisease risk and improve brain function. Radishes offer cancerfighting indoles; red tomatoes are the ultimate in lycopene, linked to lower risk of heart disease and cancer.

Myth #6: Garbanzo Beans Give Me a Meal's Worth of Protein.

A ladleful (about 1/4 cup) provides roughly 4 grams of protein — not enough, if that's the only protein you're having in that meal. You need .36 grams per pound of body weight per day (so a 154pound woman needs about 55 grams of protein daily). Get more by using 3/4 cup of beans — that's 11 grams of protein — plus 1/4 cup of chopped egg (4 grams of protein) or 1/4 cup of shredded cheese (7 grams of protein).

Myth #7: If I Add Bacon, I Might as Well Have Ordered a Burger.

Bacon won't ever win any health prizes — in fact, nutritionists consider it a fat (and not a healthy fat!), as opposed to a meat. But it's not as bad as you might think. One slice, about 1 tablespoon crumbled, has about the same amount of fat as 2 tablespoons of feta or shredded cheese or 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds. Just make sure you keep other fats, such as croutons or creamy dressing, out of your salad.

Myth #8: You Can't Get Food Poisoning from Salad like You Can from Beef or Chicken.

"Lettuce, sprouts, and tomatoes are some of the most common carriers of salmonella, toxic strains of E. coli, and other harmful microbes," says Christopher Braden, M.D., at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. How do they get into your salad? From the manure and contaminated water they're grown in, from a dirty cutting board or knife, or from people touching the vegetables without washing their hands. Not much you can do about it when you're out, but at home, wash veggies under running water.

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