Carrots, sweet potatoes, and kale all become healthier with the addition of which nutrient? Protein? Nope. Calcium? Wrong again. If you guessed fat, you are correct! That is because all of these foods contain fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins can only be absorbed by the body in the presence of fat. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, in contrast to vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, which are water-soluble. For example, if you are eating a vegetable that is full of vitamin A (like kale or spinach) you are only going to absorb the vitamin A if you are also eating some fat.
Juicing fruits and veggies is widely popular these days. I personally don’t own a juicer and I’m not too upset about that. Why? Number one, when you juice you don’t get the full benefit of the vegetable because the fiber is lost. Number two, you won’t absorb the fat-soluble vitamins if you are just drinking juice, as there is little to no fat in most fruits and veggies. Number three, I would rather chew my veggies than drink them, but that’s just a personal preference. If you are in love with your fresh juice, go for it, but I would recommend eating a fat source with your juice. For example, in addition to the juice, have a handful of nuts, a hardboiled egg, or eat a 2% fat yogurt. Another option might be having a smoothie instead of juice, because with a smoothie you can add milk, peanut butter, or an avocado to help with nutrient absorption.
The following is a list of fruits and veggies that contain fat-soluble vitamins. So be sure to eat the following foods with some healthy fat. If you don’t want to consult the list, just remember that most orange and green leafy veggies will be more nutritious if you add a little bit of fat to them (think a drizzle of olive oil or small pat of butter, not drowning in ranch).
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet Potato
- Collard Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science. She has a passion for debunking nutrition myths and helping people discover delicious and healthy food. You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition.