This "Super Immunity" Kale Power Salad is a fresh, vibrant mix of beans, seeds, berries, onions and then tossed with a homemade chia seed balsamic vinaigrette!
I enjoy reading health-focused books and "Super Immunity" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman is one that stands out from the crowd. It's an easy read with great information on ways to support our immune system.
The author Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a family physician and nutrition researcher, specializing in preventing and reversing disease through natural and nutritional methods.
He focuses on a group of immune-boosting foods he believes are the best anti-cancer and health-promoting foods on earth.
This particular group of foods is said to help protect our bodies from everything from the common cold to cancer, and they're also very effective at preventing chronic disease and promoting health and longevity.
Dr. Fuhrman's "Super Immunity" foods are:
Green vegetables contain anti-cancer compounds, especially in the cruciferous family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, and bok choy).
Leafy greens on the other hand, such as kale, watercress, and spinach, are shown to be the most nutrient-dense of all foods.
Beans (including lentils, peas, and other legumes) have been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50% and also provide significant protection against many other cancers as well. They're the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source and are also packed with fiber.
(Note: fiber is only found in plant foods, and no animal products contain fiber. Also, there is no cholesterol in plant foods, and cholesterol is only found in animal-based foods.)
The Allium family (onions, leeks, garlic, scallions, chives, and shallots) have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, and also anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. Their potent organosulfur compounds, which can slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells, are released after cutting or chewing.
Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and also colorectal cancers. White, cremini, portobello, shiitake, oyster, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer activity, so you can enjoy whichever ones are available in your area.
In a recent study, women who ate about one mushroom a day had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer. Even more dramatic were premenopausal women who ate one mushroom plus also drank green tea daily had an 89% decreased risk in breast cancer. (Postmenopausal women who did this also showed an 82% decreased risk.)
Dr. Fuhrman calls berries true super foods (especially strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries). Their vibrant colors are not only gorgeous, but full of antioxidants and are said to be some of the highest antioxidant foods on earth.
They're great for the brain. They help in improving memory and cognition, preventing DNA damage, and also boosting immunity and providing anti-cancer effects.
Many studies show cardiovascular (heart-healthy) benefits of seeds because they're rich in a spectrum of micronutrients. Plus, they've also been shown to aid in the absorption of nutrients when eaten with vegetables.
Each seed is nutritionally unique, so I try to get a variety in my diet: sunflower, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin, and flax.
I wanted to create a recipe with these powerful plants after reading his book. This immunity salad covers each one except mushrooms because Dr. Fuhrman suggests we don't eat them raw.
For the dressing, I also add a couple more power foods from the list - garlic and chia seeds. But feel free to dress it however you'd like. I often just drizzle balsamic or red wine vinegar on my kale salads.
Super Immunity Power Salad with Chia-Balsamic Dressing
- 1 large bunch kale
- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts (optional)
For the chia seed balsamic vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove finely minced garlic (or shallot)
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Make the dressing: in a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. The dressing will thicken a bit after sitting. (Tip: for an even smoother/thicker dressing you can pulse in a blender.)
- Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl and lightly massage. Pour desired amount of dressing over top, and lightly toss to coat. (If you have any unused dressing, store in a covered container. It stores in the fridge for about 4-5 days.)
- Rinse and drain beans. Add to kale.
- Thinly slice onion, and strawberries. Add to salad with blueberries.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds and hemp hearts on top.
- Keeps in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
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