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Recipe for Health: Kale Pear Salad with Hazelnut Dressing

Eating fruits and veggies can reduce perceived stress.

Kale Pear Salad

A study published in Clinical Nutrition involving nearly 9,000 adults in Australia linked eating at least 470 grams of fruits and vegetables daily to a 10% reduction in perceived stress, compared with eating less than 230 g. That’s about 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup carrots and 1 orange.

Remember that unchecked long-term stress can spiral into more serious issues like depression and chronic anxiety that can severely impact the quality of life.

While scientists aren’t certain how fruit and vegetables can battle mental stress, it might come down to their important nutrients and antioxidants helping lower inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain. Or perhaps it boils down to the simple act that doing something healthy for ourselves—like eating this colorful kale pear salad dish—can help us feel a little less frazzled. And since it can be made ahead of time and holds up well in the fridge, you’ll stress less when it comes to mealtime.

1 bunch curly leaf kale

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup hazelnuts

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

4 oil-packed anchovies (optional)

2 T cider vinegar

2 t lemon zest

1 t Dijon mustard

1/4 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

2 pears, thinly sliced

2 red or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

1/2 cup dried cherries

Fold each kale leaf in half lengthwise and slice out the center ribs. Roll up stacks of leaves and slice into ribbons. Place kale in a large bowl. Place olive oil, hazelnuts, shallots, garlic, anchovies if using, cider vinegar, lemon zest, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender container and blend until just slightly chunky. Add a touch more oil if needed to help with blending. Pour dressing over kale and massage firmly until tender and reduced in volume by about half. Toss with pear, bell pepper, carrot and dried cherries.  Makes six servings.

See also: More Vegetables and Fruits = Less Psychological Distress

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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