Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have made a truly tasty discovery: in order for our bodies to get maximum benefit from the nutrients in the vegetables we eat, we need to add some fat while eating them.
The OSU study showed that when participants ate a salad that included avocados (one of the truly good fats, so enjoy your guacamole), an astonishing 3 to 5 times more carotenoids were absorbed.
What are carotenoids? Click here for a thorough discussion, but briefly, they’re the cancer-fighting, health-promoting antioxidants in fresh fruits and veggies. They’re what make carrots orange and tomatoes red, and they’re fat-soluble, which means you need some fat present when you eat them in order to get the full benefit of their protective effects.
Now I’ll bet you’re wondering if your blue cheese salad dressing would work equally well, and the answer to that is yes. Previous research at OSU showed that any type of fat added to veggies will improve your absorption of nutrients.
Full-fat dressings are fine as occasional treat (I like to thin mine with skim milk so it goes a little further), but my broad recommendation is a capful of extra virgin olive oil on any cooked veggie. Mix it with a little vinegar or lemon juice and Dijon mustard to make a perfect salad dressing.