Have you ever wondered if Caprese salad is a healthy option for lunch or light dinner?
The answer is YES: this dish is low in calories (just do not overdo it with the amount of mozzarella) and all its ingredients can benefit your health!
Insalata Caprese is one of the Italian’s most popular dishes. Apart from being healthy, it tastes great. And because of its colours, it also looks beautiful. They say that this is an Italian national dish, because it is composed of three colours that we know from the Italian flag: green, white and red.
And you can have this healthy and tasty dish on your table ready in 5 minutes, amazing, isn’t it?
But what exactly makes Caprese salad a healthy choice for you?
As we already mentioned all Insalata Caprese ingredients are healthy, so let’s look at them in more detail.
WHY TOMATOES IN CAPRESE SALAD CAN BENEFIT YOUR HEALTH ?
Tomatoes provide few calories and are alkalizing, which means they help build a balanced environment in your body. They are invaluable in anti-obesity diets, as well as help in diabetes, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney and heart disease.
Tomatoes are a source of vitamins and nutrients.
They are rich in:
- beta carotene (provitamin A),
- vitamins C, K, E, B3, B6, B9 (folic acid) and H (biotin).
Tomatoes are very rich in minerals, such as:
- copper and manganese.
Tomatoes are also extremely rich in lycopene, a valuable antioxidant that gives tomatoes a red colour. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has up to twice the power of neutralizing free radicals than the generally known beta-carotene. By protecting our cells against the harmful effects of free radicals, lycopene thereby protects our body against cancer, heart disease, cataracts and many other diseases.
When preparing your Caprese salad you might consider using organic tomatoes; they contain three times as much lycopene as traditional tomatoes.
TIP for eating tomatoes:
If you have sensitive digestive tract, it is worth depeeling them before eating.
WHAT MAKES MOZZARELLA A HEALTHY CAPRESE SALAD INGREDIENT?
You can’t imagine a portion of your healthy Caprese salad without mozzarella, can you? And you will be happy to know that indeed, mozzarella is a source of health and vitality!
This specific cheese is not only delicious, but also contains many important vitamins and compounds that have a positive effect on our body. Although mozzarella has approximately 15 grams of fat in 100 grams of chese and is therefore quite caloric, we should not be afraid of it. These types of fatty acids are very diverse. One of the basic compounds is conjugated linoleic acid (popular CLA), which helps burn fat, exhibits antibacterial activity and builds muscle tissue.
Mozzarella is also a source of vitamins (relatively much of vitamin B2 and E) and minerals, especially potassium and calcium.
100g mozzarella is 280 kcal, which is not that much, bearing in mind other healthy benefits described above.
TIPS for eting mozzarella cheese:
Avoid swollen packaging that may suggest poor storage as the cheese content may be sour and rubbery.
If you can’t eat all the cheese at once, it’s good to pour the whey into a jar to keep the mozzarella leftovers in it. However, if you forget about this, don’t worry, you can also use milk instead. The most important thing to remember is not to store mozzarella dry, because it will not only lose its taste and consistency, but will also quickly go bad.
BASIL, NOT ONLY A DECORATION TO YOUR CAPRESE SALAD
Of course basil with its rich green colour makes insalata Caprese pleasing for your eyes but it also offers much more to your whole body!
There is only 23 kcal in 100 g of basil leaves, so this is almost unnoticeable.
Basil medicinal properties are many. Firstly, it improves digestion and facilitates the absorption of nutrients from food. It also prevents stomach cramps and can be used for indigestion and flatulence. Secondly, it helps in combating a lack of appetite. In addition, it is used as a means of preventing vomiting and nausea.
Moreover, basil has a melissa-like effect: it works as an antidepressant, improves mood, helps fight insomnia, reduces hyperactivity.
In addition basil contains a very large amount of vitamin K (20 grams of basil leaves covers the daily requirement). It also contains other important ingredients: vitamins A and C, manganese, copper, calcium, magnesium and iron.
The flavonoids contained in basil provide protection for the body at the cellular level, and they also have anti-aging effects, because they counteract the influence of free radicals.
The essential oils contained in basil and their ingredients are important in preventing the growth of bacteria in your body. Also, such bacteria that show high resistance to conventional drugs. Basil has a positive effect on the body’s immune system.
TIPS how to buy and store basil:
When buying basil, pay attention to the appearance of the leaves – they should be free from yellow or dark spots. The color of the leaves should be green and deep. The basil can be stored in the fridge for a few days in a closed jar or plastic container.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: LAST BUT NOT LEAST INGREDIENT WHICH MAKES YOUR CAPRESE SALAD A HEALTHY DISH!
Extra virgin olive oil contains a number of important ingredients, which are good for your health.
Extra virgin olive oil is obtained from the first cold pressing and it contains completely natural fat, without any additives. It should have a greenish color; it should be dense and rather thick.
It is recommended to use it as a preventive measure – for health purposes – it can also be used as an addition to salads, but preferably raw.
Phenols found in olive oil have proven antioxidant activity and are effective in the prevention of many civilization diseases. Monounsaturated fatty acids have a positive effect on the level of total cholesterol and LDL in blood serum and have antiatherosclerotic effect.
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil contain approx. 360 kcal.
TIPS when buying olive oil:
Buy it in a packaging that protects it from a daylight, like a dark glass bottle or can.
Remember that extra virgin olive oil is the best when consumed raw.
For frying other types of oil are recommended.
If after all that reading you feel like preparing your Caprese salad right now, just check our recipe here.
All health content on is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.