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Fatten Up Your Salads

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Mary Poppins famously advised that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Now, it looks like a spoonful of oil helps nutrition levels go up—if we apply the right oils to certain veggies. In a study published recently in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at Iowa State University found that subjects who ate salads with added soybean oil absorbed several key nutrients and antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K and lycopene, better than when they munched on salads minus the oil. These nutrients are fat-soluble and therefore benefit from being paired with a source of fat.

The biggest boost to absorption rates occurred with the addition of about 2 tablespoons of soybean oil, but adding other fat sources like olive oil, avocado and nuts to your salad bowl or roasted veggies should also help your body soak up more nutrition.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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