April 2, 2013

Why You Need Fat with Your Veggies. ~ Katja Heino

photo: April Dawn Ricchuito

Just Say No to Skinny Veggies.

We all know that eating our vegetables is good for us. Three to four servings a day, especially greens, keeps us healthy and vital. But did you know that without a little added fat, you may not be reaping the benefits of mother nature’s medicine?

In 2004, University of Iowa published a study that compared eating bowls of salad greens and tomatoes with either fat-free or full-fat salad dressing. Researchers put IV lines into the participants’ veins and drew blood samples before and after they’d eaten the salads in order to get precise measurements of the absorption of nutrients that were absorbed. When analyzing the blood samples, they realized that the participants who ate the salads with fat-free dressing did not absorb the beneficial carotenoids from the salad. Only when full-fat dressing was added to the salads did participants get the nutrients.

Carotenoids are naturally occurring  pigments that give fruits and vegetables their yellow, orange and red colors. They are also found in dark, leafy greens. These wonderful fat-soluble micro-nutrients are not only an important part of a healthy diet but are actually essential for health maintenance and disease prevention. Loaded with vitamin A, carotenoids help boost your immune system, are vital for tooth and bone health, help prevent kidney stones, give your skin its healthy glow and nourish the reproductive system.

The anti-oxidant properties of vitamin A help our bodies fight off the degenerative effects of free radicals in our bodies, protecting us from ailments s like cancer, heart disease, cataracts, atherosclerosis and pulmonary disease.

Chris Kresser, from Medicine for the 21st Century, explains that it is a matter of biochemistry. Many vitamins and nutrients are fat-soluble and  cannot be absorbed by the body without adequate fat. He quotes a Swedish study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health that found that eating fruits and vegetables didn’t lower the risk of coronary heart disease unless said fruits and vegetables were consumed with high-fat dairy products. He goes on to warn that children especially need to have fat added to fruits and vegetables in order to thrive and be vital.

Don’t be swept up in the ‘fat is bad’ craze. Instead, you can join a growing revolution of going back to traditional foods with a healthy balance of proteins and fats is helping reverse the enormous problems of obesity, diabetes, depression , high cholesterol and heart disease that a diet of processed sugars, grains and  oils high in Omega-6 (like corn, canola, and soybean) have caused.

So, the next time you are enjoying your daily recommended fruits and veggies, add a little fat. Your body will be able to absorb all the goodness they have to offer.

Katja is a mama, devoted yogi, yoga teacher and kitchen witch at her health and wellness blog, the Savory Lotus.  Real, unprocessed foods and embracing the good life.  Read more about her search for balance in life at www.savorylotus.com.

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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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