Credit: © Natasha Breen / Fotolia

Credit: © Natasha Breen / Fotolia

This simple hack can make your veggies even more nutritious

There’s no debate that vegetables are extremely healthy for you. But this simple hack can make your veggies even more nutritious.

New research from Iowa State University shows that a spoonful of oil can unlock the nutrition in vegetables even more.

The new study led by Wendy White, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition showed that eating salad with added fat increased the absorption of nutrients in the body.

In contrast, eating the salad without the oil also resulted in less nutrient absorption.

The study found that the added oil aided in the absorption of seven different micronutrients. Those nutrients included four carotenoids — alpha and beta carotene, lutein and lycopene — two forms of vitamin E and vitamin K.

The oil also helped with absorption of vitamin A.

White notes that the absorption of these nutrients provides numerous health benefits, including anti-aging properties and cancer prevention.

The study also found that the more the oil, the more the absorption.

The best way to explain it would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption,” White said.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should drench your salad in oil, White cautioned. But she said consumers should be comfortable with the U.S. dietary recommendation of about two tablespoons of oil per day.

The study press release reported:

The study included 12 college-age women who consumed salads with various levels of soybean oil, a common ingredient in commercial salad dressings. The subjects then had their blood tested to measure the absorption of nutrients. Women were chosen for the trial due to differences in the speed with which men and women metabolize the nutrients in question.

The results showed maximal nutrient absorption occurred at around 32 grams of oil, which was the highest amount studied, or a little more than two tablespoons. However, White said she found some variability among the subjects.

For most people, the oil is going to benefit nutrient absorption,” she said. “The average trend, which was statistically significant, was for increased absorption.” 

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only. 

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1. “Iowa State University Researcher Finds Further Evidence That Fats and Oils Help to Unlock Full Nutritional Benefits of Veggies.” Iowa State University, Iowa State University, 9 Oct. 2017,

2. “Modeling the Dose Effects of Soybean Oil in Salad Dressing on Carotenoid and Fat-Soluble Vitamin Bioavailability in Salad Vegetables.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2017,
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