To absorb more beta carotene and other carotenoids from salads and vegetable-based dishes, add some avocado.
It’s well known that carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, are better absorbed when consumed with some fat (this is true of all fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals). This was recently confirmed by researchers from Ohio State University, who fed 12 people beta-carotene-rich tomato sauce and then carrots, both with or without avocados, which are high in fat (mostly monounsaturated).
More beta carotene was absorbed from both the sauce and carrots when people also ate about 5 ounces of avocado. Moreover, avocado consumption resulted in greatly increased conversion of beta carotene into vitamin A in the body; this is an important way we get the vitamin A we need.
This study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, focused on avocados because it was funded by the Hass Avocado Board, but other fat-containing foods, such as oil-based salad dressing or cheese, would have similar effects.