A Little Fat Helps the Veggies Go Down
Some nutrients are known to be fat soluble – meaning that they are better absorbed by the body when they are in the presence of a fat. If you want the most out of your vegan diet, you may not want to skimp on some healthy oils.
Researchers with Iowa State University suggest that when eating salads, for example, adding dressing can promote the absorption of eight different micronutrients. These include four carotenoids (alpha and beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene), two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K. Intact vitamin A was also found to be better absorbed in the presence of oil.
Carotenoids are plant pigments responsible for bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables. These nutrients act as antioxidants in the human body, protecting cells from free radical damage. They also have strong cancer-fighting properties and are anti-inflammatory.
• Beta Carotene is converted by the body into Vitamin A. Orange veggies are good sources, including carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.
• Alpha Carotene is also converted to Vitamin A, but at a less efficient rate than beta carotene. It is still an important nutrient for reduced cancer risk, reduced cardiovascular disease, and a lower risk of death from diabetes.
• Lutein is essential for eye health and is essential for heart health as it helps prevent cholesterol from sticking to artery walls. Good sources include leafy greens, pumpkin and avocado.
• Lycopene, in addition to being an antioxidant, has been associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene is a red pigment found in tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit.
It does not take much for this benefit – just two tablespoons of oil-based dressing is enough for maximal nutrient absorption. So add your favorite vegan dressing to your salad today and enjoy!
Wendy S White, Yang Zhou, Agatha Crane, Philip Dixon, Frits Quadt, Leonard M Flendrig. Modeling the dose effects of soybean oil in salad dressing on carotenoid and fat-soluble vitamin bioavailability in salad vegetables. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2017; 106 (4): 1041 DOI: 10.3945/%u200Bajcn.117.153635