Fats and Carotenoids: Optimize Your Diet Part 1

Optimize Your DietI’m a man who loves chips and dips. Salsas, humus, and guacamoles are among my favorites but of these guacamoles are the one dip that I rarely if ever buy at the store; I generally make it on my own.

I know many people like their guacamole prepared in many different ways. Some like it chunky, some smooth. Some like onions and tomatoes in it and some like sour cream for that creamy taste. My own preference is to have both onion and tomatoes, in addition to garlic mixed in with a fairly chunky avocado. Mmm, that's a good guacamole… but hey, that’s just me.

Make Foods Better For You

I wanted to tell you however that if you plan on making your own guacamole you might want to make one consideration to your recipe to make it that much more healthier.

Fats make lycopene more bioavailable. What does that mean? That means that tomatoes, which are rich in the antioxidant, lycopene, can be absorbed more easily and put to better use by your body if they are ingested with fats such as olive oil, dairy, nuts, or in this case, avocados.

Lycopene, a carotenoid which can lower risks for cancer and cardiovascular disease, is a vital antioxidant for the body as it plays a prominent role in disease prevention. When you ingest it you should do what you can to increase it’s bioavilability in your body.

In much the same way as lycopene, the carotenoid lutein, which has been shown to decrease the risks of AMD, is also made more bioavailable to the body when paired with fats. Lutein comes in many leafy vegetables and as such, oil (fat) based dressings or the inclusions of nuts in meals prepared with leafy greens will help the body make better use of this carotenoid.

Take Home Piece

What is all of this to say? Fats (preferably good fats) increase the bioavailability of lycopene and lutein which are found in abundance in tomatoes and green leafs. If you are going to eat these foods anyway you will be better off if you add good fats to your food and save the vinaigrettes or alternative toppings for another dish.


This post is part of a series on how to optimize your diet. This series does not address which foods you should or should not eat, it should instead educate you on how to optimize what you are already eating, hopefully high quality foods. I hope you find these posts helpful.

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Leading Causes of Death

Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally

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