Fat Is Needed To Maximize The Absorption Of Certain Important Phytonutrients
Which is more nutritious, a salad with an oil-free dressing or salad with an oil-based dressing? The answer is fat-filled. Why? Because many of the phytonutrients in salad are fat soluble and so our body needs fat to absorb them. The bioavailability of nutrients is higher when you take in fat.
(Graph-The line on the top)- Here’s the amount of these nutrients you can measure in your blood stream over the course of ten hours after you eat a salad with fatty dressing.
(The line in the middle)- This is how much you get from reduced fat dressing, and the line at the bottom is the amount of this nutrition you absorb from a fat free salad. Essentially zero.
Now, you know oil isn’t good for you; it’s basically just a lot of empty calories. The healthiest way to eat fat is from whole foods, like nuts and seeds. So, a dressing made with just the ground sesame seeds, or a creamy dressing you can whip up on your own by blending nuts like cashews is the best way to absorb all that nutrition in our salads.
Or you can use a fat-free dressing and just throw some nuts and seeds on top. My favorite is raw walnuts. Just 5 walnut halves is all the fat you need to get at those fat soluble nutrients in your greens.
Similarly, (The line at the bottom) - This is all the lycopene you absorb from salsa—that great red phytonutrient that protects against cancer. Why? Because salsa is a fat-free food.
(The line on the top) - This is how much you absorb if you add some avocado to that salsa. Just a half of an avocado is all you need to add to salsa or salad to maximize absorption.
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M. J. Brown, M. G. Ferruzzi, M. L. Nguyen, D. A. Cooper, A. L. Eldridge, S. J. Schwartz, and W. S. White. Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings as measured with electrochemical detection. American journal of clinical nutrition, 80(2):396, 2004.
N. Z. Unlu, T. Bohn, S. K. Clinton, and S. J. Schwartz. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. Journal of Nutrition, 135(3):431, 2005.