Butter's good! It's butter that will make vegetables more nutritious. Butter and avocado and olive oil.
Want Fat with That? A Surprising Way to Make Vegetables More Nutritous. From the Wall St Journal, subscribers only.
It turns out that some of the best stuff in fruits and vegetables -- certain vitamins and cancer-fighting compounds -- are "fat-soluble." That means some fat needs to be present for the body to adequately absorb the nutrients. But studies are now showing that people who opt for no-fat dressing or who skip adding foods like avocado or cheese to a dish to avoid fat calories, are getting far less out of their salads and other veggies.
"What we're finding is that if you don't have some fat in the meal, all these wonderful" compounds are missed, says Steven Clinton, program leader for molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention and the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus. "If the nutrients don't get into your system, then what good are they?"
With the salad test, the impact of adding avocado was even greater. The first salad included romaine lettuce, baby spinach, shredded carrots and a no-fat dressing, resulting in a fat content of about 2%. After avocado was added, the fat content jumped to 42%. When the salad was consumed with the avocado, the 11 test subjects absorbed seven times the lutein and nearly 18 times the beta carotene. Lutein is a carotenoid found in many green vegetables and is linked with improved eye and heart health.
Study researchers say they were not only surprised by how much more absorption occurred with the avocado added to the meal, but they were taken aback at how little the body absorbed when no fats were present. "The fact that so little was absorbed when no fat was there was just amazing to me," says Dr. Clinton