Many of the healthful compounds in vegetables are fat-soluble. That means your body can't easily absorb them unless fat is present at the same time.
Researchers at Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus checked for nutrients that were especially important for cancer prevention. Some of affected nutrients:
- Lutein and zeaxanthin, found in spinach and kale, are important for eye and heart health.
- Lycopene, the red carotenoid found in tomatoes and watermelon, is a potential cancer fighter.
- Alpha and beta carotene, the orange pigment in carrots and cantaloupe, help to reduce cancer rates.
- Vitamin E, found in mango, broccoli and spinach, is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals that cause tissue and cellular damage.
Fortunately, the amount of fat in the entire meal can aid nutrient absorption. Nutritionists say you should choose at least one food per meal with a high fat content. That means if you have a small steak or hamburger with dinner, you'll be fine.