How to make a super salad with a 400 percent nutrient boost

A colorful salad is a beautiful thing for your health. All those bright vegetables give you an antioxidant boost. But when you toss one extra food on top, you get a surprisingly large nutrient surge.

The food that turbo-charges a salad’s benefits: an egg … or three.

When you eat an egg with your salad, a new study shows you rev up your body’s absorption of the salad’s carotenoids, the pigments from its raw ingredients that can help stop harmful inflammation in your body and fight off oxidative damage.

“Eating a salad with a variety of colorful vegetables provides several unique types of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene,” says Purdue university researcher Wayne Campbell. “The lipid (fat) contained in whole eggs enhances the absorption of all these carotenoids.”

Eggs are rich in protein, vitamins and other nutrients.Without fat traveling down your digestive tract along with the carotenoids, your body has to just let these healthy substances pass through you relatively untouched. The fat sets off chemical processes in the intestines that open the door to these nutrients so they can enter your circulation.

That’s why the advice to eat a low-fat or fat-free salad dressing is just another menace to your well-being. Aside from the additives you often find in these questionable condiments, they do nothing to help your body soak up carotenoids.

And if you’re an egg fan, the more the merrier. The study showed that having three eggs with a salad just about quadruples carotenoid absorption.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.