Detox salad, anyone? Spring is almost here with its blooming bulbs, chirping birds, and early sun rays... And if you're anything like me, this is the time I like to try new recipes that feed my cells with light refreshing nutrients.
So, that's exactly what I'm giving you today!
A super easy & delicious detox salad loaded with hormone-balancing properties
There are two ingredients that make this detox salad recipe particularly great: endive and hemp seeds. And I highly recommend using these superstars in your own meal plans.
Benefits Of Endive
Let me introduce you to an often-forgotten member of the chicory family endive, also known witloof. Endive is a true detoxifying hormone food with tender-crisp leaves and a slightly nutty though bitter flavor.
1. Vitamins & Minerals
Endive is an amazing source of fiber, vitamin A, C, and K, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. It also provides vitamin E, magnesium, and phosphorus.
2. Reducing Cravings & Improving Weight Loss
Endive's bitterness is actually part of its superpower. For one, bitterness helps reduce cravings. Ayurvedic wisdom suggests that we should enjoy all tastes for better health: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent. And research shows that the effects of bitter foods are indeed very important for digestion (1)!
Unfortunately, the bitter taste has disappeared from our western diet because consumers typically prefer sweet and saltiness. As a consequence, the western diet is rich in fructose and simple carbohydrates, slowing our metabolism, and making the body store excess fat. Eating foods such as endive that activate your bitter tastebuds will help reduce food and sugar cravings. That way, endive contributes to weight loss (1).
3. Digestion & Liver Cleanse
What endive lacks in green, it makes up for in detoxification power. Endive promotes the natural detoxification process of the liver. This helps regulate cholesterol, balance hormones, and metabolize fat.
In fact, once endive hits your tongue's bitter receptors, it triggers a 'bitter reflex', setting off a chain of digestive reactions. And the better you digest your food, the more nutrients you'll absorb from your food (2).
- Mouth: Bitter foods activate your tastebuds and stimulate enzyme production. These enzymes help to digest complex starches.
- Stomach: The bitter substances also release a gastric hormone that stimulates the release of hydrochloric acid. This acid helps digest protein, increases the bioavailability of many minerals (such as calcium) and destroys harmful microbes. The gastric hormone also stimulates the enzyme pepsin, which is necessary for the absorption of vitamin B12.
- Gallbladder: Bitter tastes also increase bile flow in the gallbladder. A healthy bile flow is necessary for breaking down fats and absorbing fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin A, D and E.
- Pancreas: The effect of the bitter vegetables even extends to the pancreas, promoting the complete breakdown of nutrients into absorbable pieces, thus preventing bloat. Even the insulin hormone and glucagon release are stimulated, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- Intestines: On top of that, the high fiber levels in bitter veggies help eliminate waste through the digestive tract.
4. Hormone Balance
Your liver is one of the organs that can break down excess estrogen, insulin, and testosterone. That's why a healthy liver is essential for hormone balance.
Why Are Bitter Vegetables So Amazing?
By simply adding bitter greens - such as endive, arugula, dandelion, kale, frisée, escarole, mustard greens, raddichio, rucola, and watercress - to your diet, you nourish your body and reduce symptoms such as poor digestion, bloating, constipation, food allergies. On top of that, you'll improve vitamin and mineral absorption, hormone balance, liver function and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
When you squeeze some fresh lemon juice over your detox salad, you'll improve its detoxifying and digesting capacity even more.
Benefits of Hempseeds
Hempseeds are a true superfood. They are a great source of plant-based protein and contain heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory fats: GLA & omega-3 fatty acids. With their delicious nutty taste and versatility, you can literally add them to any recipe for an extra nutritious punch.
No matter if consumed raw, cooked, roasted or as a cold-pressed seed oil, hempseed is a true hormone food that comes with many evidence-based benefits!
1. Vitamins & Minerals
Hempseeds are a great source of vitamin E and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and manganese.
2. Source of GLA | PMS-Relief
Hempseeds contain the "hard-to-get" gamma-linolenic acids (GLA) (3). Because GLA isn't produced in your body and only available through dietary intake, it's a good idea to add hempseeds to your diet.
Unfortunately, a lot of women are deficient in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). Such a GLA-deficiency makes you extremely sensitive to the hormone prolactin, which causes symptoms such as depression, irritability, breast pain and tenderness, and fluid retention, associated with the premenstrual syndrome (4).
When you eat hempseeds, you essentially consume important building blocks for prostaglandin E1, which reduces your prolactin sensitivity and can relieve your PMS pains. In a study of women with PMS & PMDD, taking one gram of essential fatty acids (including 210 mg of GLA) per day resulted in a significant decrease in symptoms (5).
3. Rich in Healthy Fatty Acids | Heart Health & Skin
Hempseeds are also a great source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. Their omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is 3:1, which is considered ideal for a healthy diet (6). Research suggests that hempseeds benefit heart health and high blood pressure (7).
Hempseeds are also a great source of the amino acid arginine. A large study shows that increased arginine intake is linked with decreased levels of inflammatory markers, and may reduce the risk of heart disease and other inflammatory diseases (8). On top of that, the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) found in hempseeds has also been linked with reduced inflammation, which may decrease the risk of diseases like heart disease.
And hempseed even benefit your skin! Hempseed oil is often used in high-end skin and hair care products. Research shows that hempseed oil both improved the itchiness and dryness in people with skin condition atopic dermatitis (9).
4. Complete Amino Acid Profile | Great Plant-Based Protein Source
More than 25% of total calories in hempseeds is high-quality protein. Two tablespoons of hempseeds already provide 11 grams of protein! Hempseeds even contain each of the 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids that aren't produced in the body and that you need to get from your diet. Furthermore, these proteins are also easy to digest and are a great source of fiber. The fiber helps you feel full and curb excess hunger, thus supporting weight loss.
All in all, hemp seeds are extremely beneficial for you. They are really worth adding to your diet to promote your health and happiness! So let's have a look at that detox salad recipe, shall we?
The Recipe: Endive Hempseed Apple Detox Salad
Serves 2 | Preptime: 10 minutes
2 Belgian (flatleaf) endives, use 3 or 4 outer leaves, rest thinly sliced
1 Fennel, cut ends and thinly sliced
1 Apple (organic), cored and sliced
2 Celery Stalks, sliced
1 Small Red Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp Hemp Seeds
50 g / ½ cup Walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp Parsley fresh, chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil, extra virgin
1 tbsp Lemon Juice, fresh
Pinch of Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
By simply adding some ingredients, you can turn this healthy detox salad into a wholesome dinner: just add a cooked egg, 50 g of smoked salmon or tempeh per person. You could even add some sweet potatoes fries from the oven on the side.
Note: Belgian endive and fennel are both best enjoyed fresh.
Mix all ingredients together, except the outer whole endive leaves.
Divide the mixture into the endive leaves and serve the rest of the mixture together with the endive boats.
Are You Trying This Amazing Detox Salad?
Let me know when you try out this recipe — I'd love to see how it turns out! Submit your photo in the comments section below, and/or tag us on Instagram using @healthcoachfx and #healthcoachfx.
1. Drewnowski, A. & Gomez-Carneros, C. (2000, December). Bitter taste, phytonutrients, and the consumer: a review.
2. Charles-Davies, D. (2018, February). Bitters: the Revival of a Forgotten Flavor
3. Callaway, J. C. (2004, January). Hempseed As A Nutritional Resource: An Overview.
4. Horrobin, D.F. (1983, July). The role of essential fatty acids and prostaglandins in the premenstrual syndrome.
5. Rocha Filho, E.A., Lima, J.C., Pinho Neto, J.S., Montarroyos U. (2011, January). Essential fatty acids for premenstrual syndrome and their effect on prolactin and total cholesterol levels: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study.
6. Holub, B.J. (2002, March). Clinical nutrition: 4. Omega-3 fatty acids in cardiovascular care.
7. Rodriguez-Leyva, D. & Pierce, G.N. (2010, April). The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed
8. Wells, B.J., Mainous, A.G. III, Everett C.J. (2005, February). Association between dietary arginine and C-reactive protein.
9. Callaway, J. C. et al. (2005, April). Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis.