Salad Dressing for the Healthiest Salad - via Women's Health

Salad Dressing for the Healthiest Salad 

Salad is right up there with diamonds on a girl’s list of BFFs. But drizzling it with fat-free dressing could be drowning out your good intentions. A new Purdue University study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research shows that eating fat—theright kind of fat—can drastically increase how many nutrients we absorb from food.

What Can Fat Do For You?Combining dietary fat with foods that contain certain fat-soluble vitamins and other essential nutrients help our bodies absorb those nutrients, says study co-author Shellen Goltz. Without fat, all the good stuff in lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and other salad staples can’t get into your bloodstream and go to work warding off cancer, eye disease, and other ailments. A 2004 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that our bodies absorb essentially none of the carotenoids (a natural pigment and potent antioxidant found in vibrant-colored veggies) we eat when we don’t wash it down with fat. So while our muffin tops may not need calorie-rich, fat-laden dressings, the rest of our bodies do. The question is: How much?

When to Say WhenThe Purdue University study found that people who ate salads dressed with as little as 3 grams (a little less than a teaspoon) of monounsaturated fat (the good kind that’s found in food sources such as olive oil and nuts) absorbed just as many nutrients from their food as those whose dressing had more fat. Even better, far smaller amounts of monounsaturated fats were required to boost nutrient absorption, compared with all other kinds of fat (including polyunsaturated fat, the kind found in fish oil).