Diet

Healthy salad dressing dos and don'ts: Three healthy salad dressing recipes

Find out which ingredients to avoid and the best oils to use for homemade dressings

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A salad without dressing is almost unthinkable. But often your healthy bowl of greens is not well served by commercial dressings filled with unhealthy ingredients such as white sugar, white vinegar, poor quality refined oils and a load of preservatives and flavour enhancers. With your next salad, try one of my three super healthy dressings that are packed with health benefits. Get the recipes below.

Ingredients to avoid in salad dressings
Polysorbate 60: Short for polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate, this emulsifier is widely used in the food industry. Made of corn, palm oil and petroleum, this preservative is being watched closely due to health concerns.
MSG: Beware because it can be disguised in food products under different names. For example, hydrolyzed vegetable protein is a source of MSG, among many others. MSG is a favourite among food manufacturers because it brings out the flavour in many foods. The downside is that it can cause various and severe allergic reactions in some people, including headaches, nausea and burning sensations at the back of the neck and forearms.

Shop for unrefined oils

Oils used in salad dressings are extremely sensitive to light, heat, oxygen and free radicals and can become damaged in the refinement process. Damaged essential fats can wreak havoc in your body’s cells, so look for unrefined oils to ensure the greatest nutrition. Skip over the light olive oil (it has just as many calories as extra virgin olive oil) and go for vibrant green oils like EVOO and hemp oil. You will enjoy extra antioxidants like polyphenols and vitamin E.

Almost all commercial salad dressings have too many omega-6 fats (soy, canola and corn) and not enough healing omega-3 and omega-9 fats (flax, hemp, fish, olive and avocado). People healing from an illness or inflammatory condition should take a higher amount of omega-3s from flax, hemp, walnut and fish oil.

Use healthy healing oils
Fish oil has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that can reduce joint tenderness, pain and stiffness. Not only is fish oil a good pain reliever, it also supports a positive mood! In countries where fish makes up a large part of the diet, national rates of depression are lower. Don’t be scared of the taste — when you use a high quality lemon-flavoured fish oil, it is easy to hide behind a Caesar salad with all the garlic and anchovies!

Hemp oil is the perfect way to get an ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6‘s including the rare EFA known as Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). Testimonials have shown that GLA alone may help with arthritis, joint mobility, eczema, hormonal balance, migraines, menopause in women, healthy cholesterol, blood pressure levels and even weight management. GLA also helps promote healthy skin and hair. You can even try some hemp oil in your next batch of homemade beauty products!

Olive oil is a fantastic anti-inflammatory tool. It has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer, lower “bad” blood cholesterol (LDL), offer protection from ulcers and gastrointestinal discomfort, and reduce the risk of gallstones.

Armed with this information, enjoy using healing oils in our homemade salad dressings!

Easy olive mustard vinaigrette

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp honey (optional)

Put these ingredients in a mason jar and shake.

Orange, poppy and hemp dressing
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp Dijon or whole grain mustard
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp hemp oil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp poppy seeds
sea salt, to taste

Put these ingredients in a mason jar and shake.

World’s healthiest Caesar dressing
This is truly a heart-saving salad dressing. The fish oil goes well with the anchovies in this garlicky medley. The celery gives the dressing bulk and allows you to move away from using raw egg.

1/4 cup fish oil, lemon flavoured (Note: you can use flax oil or more olive oil if fish oil is unavailable)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped fine
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tamari (soy sauce)
3 anchovy fillets
1 date (1 tsp of honey works if dates are unavailable)

Using a blender, whip all the dressing ingredients together.

Julie Daniluk
hosts Healthy Gourmet (OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network), a reality cooking show that highlights the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation (Random House) is now available and will help people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process.