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Is Salsa Good For You

by Lyndon Langley
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Is Salsa Good For You

Is Salsa Good For You

If you’re a salsa fan, it’s probably because of its versatility — as well as its nutritional value. It doesn’t matter if you prefer mild or hot; there are salsas for every palate. Whether you like to dip your chips in spicy tomato sauce, spread some on bread or even use it as an ingredient in other recipes, this popular condiment has many benefits that contribute to good health. And by eating healthy, we mean not just dieting but actually improving your overall health. Salsa is a powerful antioxidant with high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron. In fact, one medium-sized serving provides half the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A. So what does all this mean? Here are just a few ways salsas can improve your quality of life:
Help fight cancerous cells: Vitamin A helps fight against cancerous cells, while vitamin C fights free radicals that damage DNA. The best way to get these two nutrients into your system is through fresh produce rather than supplements. Eating raw tomatoes will give you the most benefit from them.
Improve vision: Both vitamin A and vitamin C have been shown to play important roles in keeping eyes healthy. They protect our eyes from ultraviolet light rays that cause cataracts and macular degeneration. These vitamins also reduce the risk of retinopathy — when blood vessels become inflamed within the retina causing blindness.
Boost immunity: When used together, vitamin A and vitamin C can boost immunity against colds and flu.
Reduce stress: While research hasn’t established a direct link between the consumption of vitamins A and C and reducing stress, studies have found that both antioxidants may be helpful in relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Increase energy: Vitamin A contributes to normal growth and development of tissues and organs in the body. Deficiencies can lead to birth defects, learning disabilities and mental retardation. Vitamin C helps us absorb iron, calcium and zinc, all essential components in maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Promote healthy skin: Vitamin A supports healthy skin and hair by helping maintain moisture levels and cell turnover. Vitamin E works in tandem with vitamin A to support healthy skin, hair and nails. Together they aid in tissue formation and the creation of new skin cells.
Create beautiful skin: Healthy skin begins at home, so make sure you incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet each day to reap their beauty benefits.
Healthy heart: Your heart pumps oxygenated blood throughout your body. If you don’t feed it properly, your heart won’t perform optimally. Vitamins A and C work together to promote healthy arteries and veins, lower cholesterol and regulate heartbeat. Iron plays a vital role in producing red blood cells, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body and strengthening muscles. Zinc is necessary for wound healing and bone strength.
Good digestive tract: The acidity produced by food digestion depends largely upon the amount of hydrochloric acid present in your stomach. Hydrochloric acid breaks down protein fibers, allowing proteins such as enzymes and hormones to break down into smaller pieces. As a result, less protein remains undigested in the small intestine where bacteria do their job breaking down those remaining proteins. Antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C neutralize free radicals produced during this process, protecting the lining of the digestive tract from damage.
Regulate menstrual cycle: During menstruation, the vagina produces large amounts of mucus, which contains much needed estrogen. Estrogen prevents the uterus from contracting too tightly around the pregnancy sac. Vitamin A stimulates the release of estrogen, making it easier for the uterus to expand during ovulation.
While salsas certainly aren’t meant to replace your meals, incorporating them into your diet can provide additional nutrition. Salsas are often served alongside main dishes, but they can easily be eaten alone as snacks or part of a balanced meal. Choose your favorite kind and try using different types of peppers, herbs and spices to add flavor and interest. Keep reading to learn how to make your own salsa recipe.
Author’s Note: I love salsas! I grew up in Mexico, where we ate lots of salsa, especially when we had tacos. We could never go wrong with that combination. My husband loves his salsa and uses it on everything — rice, beans, chicken … he really likes it on anything he eats. But beyond that, I think that salsa is delicious on corn chips, added to guacamole or stirred into soups. There are tons of great salsa recipes out there and here is one of my favorites.
Serve salsa over any type of grain, including pasta, quinoa, couscous, millet, barley, white rice, whole wheat tortillas or naan. Add it to salads or slather it on sandwiches instead of traditional butter. Try stirring it into soup or adding it to vegetable stir fries. Or, puree it in blender, then pour it over cooked grains or vegetables, or mix it with yogurt or cottage cheese, or serve it over grilled meats.
Recipe courtesy Sara Perry/FamilyFitnessHQ.com
Tomatillo Salsa Recipe
Ingredients:
2 cups chopped tomatillos
1 1/3 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 tablespoons cilantro leaves
¼ teaspoon salt
Directions:
Combine ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes 2 cups.

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