Have you ever taken dietary supplements and wondered why some of them need to be ingested with food and others not?
This is because there are fat-soluble and water-soluble nutrients.
Fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K need fat in order to be absorbed by the body.
Water-soluble nutrients – such as vitamin C and vitamin B – don’t need fat to be absorbed. Taking them with water is enough since they don’t get stored by the body.

We need plenty of both water-soluble nutrients as well as fat-soluble nutrients. They support several essential body functions such as our immune system, cells, heart, skin, tissue growth and repair, eyes and bones.
It’s important to have a basic understanding of how the nutrients in your food work, so that we know how to get the most of them.

 

Fat-soluble vitamins

The following fruits and vegetables contain good amounts of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Most of these fruits and vegetables contain very little or no fat, except for one that is packed with plenty of good fats.
Do you know which one it is? (The answer is further down in this article!)

 

Vitamin A: sweet potato, carrot, green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, apricot, mango and cantaloupe melon

Vitamin D: A specific type of portabello mushrooms that are grown while exposed to sunlight

Vitamin E: spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, avocado, broccoli and papaya

Vitamin K: green leafy vegetables, brussels sprouts, garden cress, spring onions, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries

 

When you eat these cooked, you will probably use some sort of fat during the preparation or maybe eat it with something that contains fat.
But that fresh carrot juice full with vitamin A? It will need a little help to work its magic!

 

Healthy fats

In order to get the maximum from raw foods like smoothies, juices or salads, you just need to add a bit of good fat to them.
It’s really that simple, but many people are not aware of it and miss out on an important part of the benefits.

 

There are several sources of good quality, healthy plant-based fat. These are some of the fats I like and eat on daily basis:

– coconut oil
– nuts
– seeds
– extra virgin olive oil
– coconut milk
– avocado (there it is!)

Healthy fats like these help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K besides offering plenty of other health benefits.

 

How to use them?
I like to add olive oil to salads year-round. When they’re in season I eat avocados all the time; in salads, smoothies, to make guacamole and chocolate mouse.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds sprinkled on top of salads add an interesting bite to it.

I’ve been eating coconut oil daily for years and love how versatile it is. You can add it to smoothies, bake with it, cook with it, make healthy chocolates, add it to your coffee or chocolate milk and so much more.

When I make smoothies, I always add coconut oil to them. The taste is sweet yet subtle and it compliments most fruit.
Smoothies from vegetables such as green leafs (which are packed with fat-soluble vitamins!) can have a bit of a bitter taste. Adding coconut oil makes them not only healthier but also tastier!

Coconut oil is particularly good for nutrient absorption because of its MCT’s (medium chain fatty acids). MCT’s help the body absorb more fats than a fat that contains mostly low chain fatty acids, such as the ones in vegetable oils.
MCT’s further help with digestion and metabolism. Unlike most other fats they are not stored in the liver, but instead are used as a direct source of energy.

 

 

Are you using coconut oil for nutrient absorption in your smoothies or other foods?

 

 

Related articles:

More ways to use coconut oil in the kitchen

What makes a cooking oil (un)healthy?