A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a group of participants who ate fat-free salad dressing with their salad absorbed far less nutrients than the group of participants who had fatty salad dressing. The findings from this study match those of several other nutrition studies – antioxidants function more optimally in the body if paired with fat. A more recent study in the UK demonstrated that oil intake enhances the absorption of quercetin (a part of the flavonoid antioxidant family like the Queen Garnet). The absorption of many vitamins also requires fat.
Without fat to help the absorption and usage of beta-carotene (the type of antioxidant that makes carrots orange), your body will store the beta-carotene instead and turn your skin orange! Why go through all the effort of purchasing antioxidant-rich products when the rest of your diet doesn’t help them get absorbed!?
With all of this in mind, make sure you also choose the right kind of fat – unprocessed fat such as nuts, seeds, and avocado. Do not go overboard on trans fats, processed vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats. A good way to do this is to eat avocado and olive oil with your salad or pair some nuts with your fruits when snacking. See our previous blog post here to learn about the different types of healthy fats.