A Greek salad is a twist on a traditional tossed green salad that usually includes feta cheese, olives, cucumber, red onion and olive oil, in addition to the standard lettuce and tomato. The inclusion of these additional ingredients is a healthy way to punch up the nutrition of your salad by adding key vitamins and minerals to your salad.
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The bulk of a Greek salad is made up of the leafy greens, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. These are low-calorie and nutrient-dense foods to include in your daily diet. Salad greens provide you with a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and iron. Colorado State University notes that salad greens also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that help protect your health, as well as reduce your risk of health problems such as heart disease and cancer. One cup of tomatoes on your salad supplies 24.7 mg of vitamin C and 1,499 IU of vitamin A. Cucumbers are a healthy source of potassium for just 8 calories per 1/2-cup serving. Red onion slices provide additional vitamin A and C, as well as a small amount of fiber.
Most versions of Greek salad contain either black or kalamata olives, each of which is a healthy source of unsaturated fat. A diet that includes healthy unsaturated fats might help you reduce your risk of heart disease. One large black olive adds just 5 calories to your Greek salad, but also supplies you with small amounts of calcium, fiber and vitamin A. Maggie Greenwood-Robinson notes in her book, "Good Fat vs. Bad Fat," that eating olives on a regular basis might also help lower your blood cholesterol and help neutralize free radicals that can lead to cancer and other chronic illnesses. Stick to four or five olives because they are high in sodium.
A crumble of feta cheese adds a bold flavor to a Greek salad, but is also a nutritious topping. Use a moderate amount of cheese on your salad because while it is healthy, it also contains about 6 g of fat per 1 oz. serving. Your crumble of feta cheese will also supply you with 140 mg of calcium to support healthy bones and teeth. A 1 oz. serving of feta cheese also supplies 0.82 mg of zinc and 120 IU of vitamin A. You will also get trace amounts of potassium, magnesium and B vitamins.
The most common dressings for a Greek salad are olive oil or vinaigrette. While these dressings are high in fat, much of it is beneficial unsaturated fat, which might reduce your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, and might also help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil or low-fat vinaigrette over your Greek salad to add some flavor without significantly increasing the calorie and fat count of your meal.