` Dress Your Salad in Olive Oil to Get the Most Nutrients - Olive Oil Times

Dress Your Salad in Olive Oil to Get the Most Nutrients

Jun. 26, 2012
Elena Paravantes

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A new study from Purdue University showed that olive oil might be the best choice of salad dress­ing when it comes to absorb­ing nutri­ents from the veg­eta­bles. It appears that monoun­sat­u­rated fats pro­vide the most effi­cient absorp­tion of carotenoids, pig­ments with antiox­i­dant activ­ity present in veg­eta­bles and fruit.

Previous research has showed that carotenoids, such as beta-carotene were more bioavail­able, in other words were more eas­ily absorbed by the body when fat was present in the salad. Carotenoids are pig­ments that are respon­si­ble for the bright col­ors of fruit and veg­eta­bles and are asso­ci­ated with a vari­ety of health ben­e­fits such as pro­tec­tion from can­cer and heart dis­ease and pro­mo­tion of eye health.

For this study pub­lished in the jour­nal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, researchers gave 29 par­tic­i­pants salad with either a sat­u­rated fat dress­ing, a monoun­sat­u­rated fat dress­ing or a polyun­sat­u­rated fat dress­ing. Each salad was served with 3 grams, 8 grams or 20 grams of fat from dress­ing. The par­tic­i­pants had their blood tested for absorp­tion of fat-sol­u­ble carotenoids, com­pounds such as lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene and zeax­an­thin.

While all fats pro­moted absorp­tion of the carotenoids, the salad dress­ing that con­tained the monoun­sat­u­rated fat (the main type of fatty acids in olive oil) pro­moted the equiv­a­lent carotenoid absorp­tion at 3 grams of fat as it did 20 grams. In other words it required the least amount of fat to get the most carotenoid absorp­tion, while sat­u­rated fat and polyun­sat­u­rated fat dress­ings required higher amounts of fat to get the same ben­e­fit. This makes monoun­sat­u­rated fat such as olive oil, a great choice for those watch­ing their fat or calo­rie intake.

It is impor­tant to note that the researchers used canola oil as their source of monoun­sat­u­rated fat dress­ing. However, olive oil actu­ally con­tains more monoun­sa­t­ured fat than canola oil, in fact olive oil has the high­est amount of monoun­sat­u­rated fat among com­monly used cook­ing oils, but it is also a source of ben­e­fi­cial antiox­i­dants as well, pro­vid­ing a dou­ble ben­e­fit.



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