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Salad Dressings, Which Ones are Healthiest?

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2012-06-26 08:39

The delicious vegetable salad you just ordered or prepared for yourself looks like it's packed with nutrition, but it's possible you won't get the most benefit from the nutrients if you use the wrong salad dressing. A new study found that not all salad dressings are equal when it comes to releasing the healthy carotenoids from vegetables.

How to choose the healthiest salad dressings

When you sit down to eat a salad chock full of nutrient-rich vegetables, you want it to not only taste good, but to be good for you. If you're watching your weight, you may even avoid using any type of oil and just stick with vinegar and herbs or choose a no-fat salad dressing.

But if you really want to take advantage of the health benefits offered by vegetables, especially the fat-soluble carotenoids such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin, then you need to eat some type of oil with your salad, because fat-soluble nutrients require dietary fat to be properly absorbed through the digestive tract.

Which salad dressings are the healthiest? Researchers at Purdue University tackled this leafy task in a study that involved 29 volunteers who ate salads with various types of dressings:

  • Saturated fat: butter-based dressing
  • Monounsaturated fat: canola oil-based dressings
  • Polyunsaturated fat: corn oil-based dressing

The salad eaters enjoyed their vegetables with either 3 grams, 8 grams, or 20 grams of fat from salad dressing. Here's what the researchers discovered:

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