Carotenoid bioavailability is higher from salads ingested with full-fat than with fat-reduced salad dressings


I hope I can convince you to eat more vegetables as often as possible. The major problem with greens and other veggies is getting them to taste good. Unfortunately, many people have tasted too many times the overcooked or the simply boiled tasteless slimy veggies, which can easily be confused with the food you have when you are sick.

Let me give you a tip to help you choose more vegetables for your meals. There is a phenomenon called flavour-flavour conditioning, in which you can stimulate your taste buds by combining a less pleasant flavour such as sour or bitter, with a more pleasant one such as sweet. 

When you’re thinking about ways to pair your greens with something you already love to make the greens tastier, consider mixing them with a green-light source of fat: nuts, seeds, nut butter, seed butter, or avocado.

Many of the famous nutrients found in veggies are known to be fat soluble, including beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin K, and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are pigments in plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. These pigments produce the bright yellow, red, and orange colours in vegetables and fruits, and act as antioxidants for humans.

So, pairing your greens with a green-light source of fat may not only make them taste better but will maximize nutrient absorption. You’ll be surprised how simple it is to implement this quick and healthy tip into your daily life. Start by enjoying a creamy tahini-based dressing on your salad, mixing pine nuts with spinach and garlic, or sprinkling some toasted sesame seeds on your sautéed spinach.

Science is on our side. A study aimed to give people a healthy salad of spinach, romaine, carrots, and cherry tomatoes along with a source of fat, salad dressing. The scientists observed an impressive spike in carotenoid phytonutrients in the people’s bloodstream over the next eight hours meaning just a single serving of vegetable salad results in substantial intestinal absorption of nutrients. They also wanted to see what happens when people consumed a fat-free dressing salad. The study results showed that carotenoid absorption flatlined down to negligible amounts as if they’d never eaten the salad at all. The important question is how much fat do we need to add to a salad for more efficient nutrient absorption? It doesn’t take much. Just around 3 grams of fat may be sufficient to boost absorption.

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