Meet The’ Huge Fatty Salad ,’ Your Brain’s New Best Friend

Elaine Benes may have introduced the world to The Big Salad on “Seinfeld” in 1994, but in 2018 it’s all about The Huge Fatty Salad.

If you’re a human who’s ever lived through the month of January, you know America turns to salads when it’s time to drop-off a pants size. But there’s one specific type of salad that can do even more for your brain than it can for your belly.

Max Lugavere, author of the new volume Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life, is on a mission to help us boost our health with the foods we eat every day, which have a amazingly powerful consequence on our brain function. One of the many healthy habits he promotes is eating what he calls a “huge fatty salad” once every day.

The concept suggests that feeing one huge daily salad — specifically, one that’s packed with a combination of nutrient-dense veggies, protein and extra-virgin olive oil — can work wonders for your brain. You know, the organ that controls EVERY OTHER ORGAN IN YOUR BODY.

It’s a simple concept that could reap huge health benefits. Here’s how to master the huge fatty salad.

Size matters.

If you’re not the world’s more enthusiastic fan of lettuce-based foodstuffs, you might watch the words “huge” and “salad” together and bail out on this concept wholly. But don’t freak out. Lugavere says the definition of huge will differ for everyone. It’s more about devoting salad a more prominent role in your diet.

“It’s important to think about the salad not as a side dish, but as the dish. Truly stimulate that your entree, ” Lugavere told HuffPost.

But for everyone who does like to eat their salads out of a ridiculously big mixing bowl, the enormous fatty salad is perfect validation for eating a giant salad on the sofa with a towel-turned-bib on your chest.

What’s inside countings, too.

Step away from the iceberg lettuce. Don’t you even dare.

Lugavere’s ideal foundation for the huge fatty salad is a trio of darknes, leafy greens: kale, spinach and arugula.

“That’s a trio that’s really powerful, ” Lugavere said. “Kale is unbelievably nutrient dense, and a top source of magnesium and lutein. Spinach is a top source of folate and magnesium. And arugula is unique because it’s a top source of nitrate, which is uniquely important to its implementation of its ability to promote healthy blood vessel function, which is profoundly important for the brain. Research has found that one single high-nitrate meal could improve cognitive function.”

A post shared by Max Lugavere (@ maxlugavere ) on Mar 6, 2018 at 9:35 am PST

On top of that foundation, Lugavere says in his volume that “the beauty of crafting salads is that there are no rules.” He’s a fan of flinging in healthy proteins like wild salmon or grass-fed beef, and another key is ensuring you incorporate as many veggies as possible.

Once you’ve figured out what to put in the bowl, perhaps the most essential element of the fatty salad is topping it with the perfect dressing.

Huge fatty salad, you are nothing without extra-virgin olive oil.

It’s true what they say: You truly do need fats on your salad to best absorb the nutrients from all the veggies in a salad.

“There are a myriad of vitamins that are fat-soluble, as well as non-vitamin nutrients like carotenoids, which are positively associated with better brain function. Their absorption is negligible unless devoured with fat, ” Lugavere said. “So if you’re devouring a fat-free salad, it’s a massively missed opportunity to absorb these carotenoids, which research proves can actually boost visual processing speed” — the pace at which you perceive and respond to things — “by 20 percent, even if you’re young and healthy.”

But you need the right kind of fat. You’re not giving your brain its best shot if you’re using anything but extra-virgin olive oil, which contains intense anti-inflammatory effects.

Extra-virgin olive oil contains a compound called oleocanthal, which is what devotes olive oil the peppery flavor that constructs you choke when you inhale too quickly. As Genius Foods explains, “oleocanthal possesses anti-inflammatory effects so powerful that it is comparable to taking a small dosage of ibuprofen, a non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, but without any of the health risks side effects.”

Anti-inflammatories are essential to strong brain function, because inflammation can strongly negate neuroplasticity, which Luvagere describes as “the ability of the brain to change throughout life.” And we need that.

Regular olive oil won’t cut it. Here’s why.

Don’t assume regular olive oil is just as good for your brain as extra-virgin. Regular olive oil is processed, and extra-virgin is unprocessed. As is the case with most foods, processing generates some undesirable qualities in olive oil.

“The production process can actually make trans-fats, which you don’t want lingering in your olive oil, ” Lugavere explained. Not only does that make regular olive oil a less healthy option that extra-virgin, but it also sets it on par with a slew of other oils that Lugavere says we should avoid.

Avoid “ominous oils.” They’re lurking where you’d least suspect them.

Lugavere points out there are several “ominous oils” to watch out for: Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil, peanut petroleum, safflower petroleum, sunflower oil, rapeseed petroleum, grapeseed petroleum, rice bran petroleum.

Wait, what?

Many of us have been taught that canola oil is a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids. And corn and vegetable oils have long had a “healthy” reputation, as well. But according to Lugavere( and a wealth of other experts ), they’re not brain-friendly ingredients because they’ve been processed.

These petroleums contain polyunsaturated fats, which when intact in whole foods are protected against oxidation, which leads to rednes. But once these oils are exposed to heat and chemical processing, “they represent one of the major toxins in our food supply, ” according to Genius Foods.

This is why it’s important to construct your own dressing with extra-virgin olive oil. And beware of “healthy” products and restaurants without fully inspecting their ingredients.

Many bottled dress that tout olive oil on their labels are often filled with other “ominous oils.” For instance, Newman’s Own Olive Oil& Vinegar Dressing contains a combination of extra-virgin and regular olive oil, but it’s also made with “vegetable oil( soybean petroleum and/ or canola oil.” Similarly, Kraft’s Italian Olive Oil Vinaigrette contains canola oil and soybean petroleum in addition to extra-virgin olive oil.

Not even healthy salad eatery chains are immune from serving dress with the “ominous oils.” Lugavere points out that Sweetgreen, including with regard to, employs grapeseed oil in their salad dressings. Always be sure to ask restaurants which oils they use.

If you love rules and abhor imagination, here are two particular recipes to follow.

Here are two notions from Genius Foods. As Lugavere says, feel free to improve on them 😛 TAGEND

Kale, cucumber, thinly sliced jalapeno chiles, raw broccoli, sunflower seeds, avocado, grilled chicken, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, lemon

Spinach, arugula, tomatoes, bell peppers, chia seeds, avocado, grilled shrimp, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, minced raw garlic, lemon

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