How many of you have eaten a salad with a fat free dressing, no cheese, no nuts, or any fat containing food on it? Maybe you wanted to decrease calorie intake or decrease fat intake by just having a bowl full of vegetables covered in fat free dressing. It may surprise you to hear that there are some essential vitamins which require fat so that they may be absorbed and utilized by the body. These vitamins include vitamin A, E, D, and K and they play a variety of significant roles in our body.
- Vitamin A – Helps maintain bones and teeth and boosts our immune system. The precursor of vitamin A is beta-carotene which also acts as an antioxidant and helps protect our bodies cells from free radical damage. Foods high in vitamin A include carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.
- Vitamin E – Helps build a strong immune system and promotes healthy skin. It also protects against eye damage. Vitamin E is also a newly discovered antioxidant. Foods high in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and spinach.
- Vitamin D – Plays a large role in bone health through the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in our body. Foods containing vitamin D include eggs, fatty fish, cheese, and fortified orange juice.
- Vitamin K – Helps with blood clotting. Bleeding time is increased when vitamin K deficiency is present. This vitamin also aids in bone health by transporting calcium throughout the body. Foods high in vitamin K include spinach, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
If fat is not consumed along with these vitamins, or at least shortly after their consumption, then these vitamins are poorly absorbed and unable to be utilized. Next time you make a salad, skip out on the fat free dressing and try a full fat vinaigrette. Vinaigrettes are typically made with olive oil, which is an unsaturated fat and is healthier for your heart than the saturated fat found in creamier dressings like ranch.
Nuts are also a great option for tossing onto a salad to add a little extra fat to a salad. There are a variety of low fat cheeses as well that taste great on a salad, such as mozzarella balls or feta cheese crumbles. Enjoy your salad this summer as a side dish to a meal or as the main course! Here is a recipe for one of my all time favorite salads, I hope you enjoy it as much at I do! Keep in mind that boiled eggs or chicken may be added to this recipe if you would like to make it the main part of your meal.
Ingredients: No measurements for this recipe. Add as much, or as little, of each ingredient as you like!
- Feta cheese
- Dried cranberries
- Chopped cashews
- Bell pepper
- Balsamic vinaigrette
- Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and top with the dressing. Short, sweet, and simple! Enjoy! 🙂