How to Choose the Healthiest Salad Dressing

When it comes to packing a nutritional punch, a colorful salad can’t be beat. But the dressing you choose may be just as important as the vegetables for maximizing the body’s intake of important nutrients, a new study shows.

When researchers at Purdue University fed study participants vegetable salads topped with different types of oil, they found that dressings containing canola oil best promoted the absorption of fat-soluble carotenoids.

Carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin are widely believed to promote good health. Specifically, studies suggest that they lower the risk for certain cancers, heart disease, and the age-related eye condition macular degeneration.

In the study, published online in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, salads dressed with canola oil, which is a monounsaturated fat, required the least fat intake to get a substantial level of carotenoid absorption.

People who ate dressings made with polyunsaturated soybean oil and butter, which is a saturated fat, had to eat far more fat to get the same nutritional benefit.

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