How a Little Healthy Fat Goes a Long Way

Dr. Geoffrey Harris, MD

It used to be thought that salads and healthy eating were about avoiding fat and oil. But if you eat your vegetables without a little healthy fat, you could be missing out on the great SuperNutrients that make salads healthy.

Many vitamins, including vitamin A, and many great phytonutrients like beta-carotene and the carotenoids, are “fat-soluble.” This means that these important nutrients don’t dissolve in water, and must dissolve in oil or fat before they can be absorbed by your intestines. For your body to absorb these “fat soluble” nutrients you need to eat a little “healthy fat” with your meal.

Some of the SuperFoods are healthy fats, including extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, and walnuts. Be sure to add a little of these healthy fats to your salad or vegetables to ensure you are getting all of the SuperNutrients from your SuperFoods. Alternatively, by eating your vegetables or salad as part of a meal that includes a little healthy fat from turkey or low-fat yogurt, your body will be able to absorb all the important phytonutrients. And if you are having a snack — like mini carrots or red pepper slices — it’s good to have a small amount of a healthy dip like hummus to get all your SuperNutrients.

Important “Fat Soluble” Carotenoids

Alpha-carotene — An antioxidant that works with vitamin C and vitamin E to protect our cells from free radicals.
Beta-carotene — Another antioxidant that works in synergy with other vitamins and phytonutrients to protect our cells from free radicals.
Lycopene — An antioxidant that has been associated with lower risks for some cancers.
Lutein — A beneficial pigment for the eye that decreases the risk of developing macular degeneration.
Zeaxanthin — Along with Lutein lowers the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Remember, at SuperFoods, we are about the power of functional foods and the synergy of the many plant antioxidants found in whole foods. There are more than 600 known carotenoids and they work together with vitamins and minerals to optimize health. Vegetables have a natural mix of many carotenoids, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients that cooperate to create a benefit that is more than the sum of each individual nutrient’s benefit. The SuperFoods that are high in carotenoids include spinach, pumpkin, tomatoes, broccoli, and their SuperFoods Sidekicks.

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