"Just a salad" can hold nearly twice as many calories and aging fats as a Big Mac. And some "salads" from fast-food outlets barely qualify as salads (we think the companies that advertise them as such should foot the health care bill!). But building a healthy one is easy, no skimping on taste needed:

Pile them on: Peas

What they get you: Protection from stroke. Peas are high in folate, a B vitamin that lowers blood levels of homocysteine, a stroke-promoting compound in the blood. Too much of this compound may encourage lousy LDL cholesterol to oxidize and contribute to stroke-causing (and heart-attack-causing) blood clots. Other foods that help, too: asparagus, artichokes, avocados, cabbage, watercress, Brussels spouts and cabbage.

Pile them on: Marjoram, sage, rosemary, thyme

What they get you: A small amount of fresh herbs add extra phenols to salads plant compounds that protect your cells against oxidative damage. That's the damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease and other problems.

Pile them on: Colorful vegetables

What they get you: Carrots, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli and beets give you more fiber, minerals and vitamins than their paler companions, such as cucumbers. Don't abandon cucumbers altogether, though. We love their crunch. (And we love them in a drink we make that features cucumbers and dill with a little agave and vodka but that's another column).

Pile them on: Tomatoes

What they get you: Tomatoes contain a good amount of potassium, which may play a critical part in preventing the inflammatory processes that can contribute to heart attacks.The YOU Docs Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz are authors of "YOU: Being Beautiful The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty." To submit questions and find ways to grow younger and healthier, go to, the docs' online home.