As the song goes- a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. But as new research from Iowa State University suggests, adding a spoonful of oil to your vegetables makes them more nutritious.
Anyone wanting to start and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle will tell you eating your daily recommended 5 servings of vegetables is the way to go.
But like anything in the nutrition world- it seems that it’s just not that simple.
A study led by Wendy White, an Associate Professor of food science and nutrition at Iowa State University, has shown eating salad with added oil (soybean oil specifically) has helped absorption of 7 vital micronutrients.
In other words, the added oil helped with the absorption of vitamins A, E and K as well as four carotenoids (essentially antioxidants found in vegetables that give them their vibrant colours) alpha and beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene.
The study used college students who ate salads with various levels of soybean oil. The students then had their blood tested to measure the absorption of nutrients. The greatest absorption of nutrients came from having just over 2 tablespoons of oil.
Wait, so the more salad dressing the better?
Well no, this doesn’t give salad enthusiasts a license to soak your vegetables in dressings and oils. But adding the daily suggested amount of around 2 tablespoons of healthy oils such as soybean oil, extra virgin olive oil or canola oil is recommended.
Unfortunately, most salad dressings on the market are quite high in preservatives, sugar, saturated fats or sodium. So, making your own at home is still probably the better option.
In case you are wondering, Vitamin A is found in vegetables such as carrots and broccoli and is great for healthy skin. Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds and nuts such as almonds and is great for heart health. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and is great for bone health and regulating blood clotting.
So don’t hold off on putting that teaspoon or two of oil on your salads and vegetables, it might just be what you need to get that extra nutritional value.
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