As a special step for improving carotenoid absorption from carotenoid-rich foods, researchers have experimented with the addition of avocado to meal choices including salads, side servings of leafy greens, side servings of carrots, or tomato sauce.
The amount of avocado added has varied from study to study but averages approximately 1 cup or 1 small/medium avocado providing 20-25 grams of total fat. As expected, this added avocado has been shown to increase carotenoid absorption from all of the foods listed above. Anywhere from two to six times as much absorption was found to occur with the added avocado! But in addition to this increased absorption was a much less anticipated result in a recent study: not only did avocado improve carotenoid absorption, but it also improved conversion of specific carotenoids (most importantly, beta-carotene) into active vitamin A. (This unexpected health benefit of increased conversion was determined by the measurement of retinyl esters in the bloodstream of participants, which were found to increase after consumption of carrots or tomato sauce in combination with avocado.)
Avocados do contain carotenoids, in and of themselves. And thanks to their fat content, you can get good absorption of the carotenoids that they contain. However, if you happen to be consuming an avocado-free meal or snack that contains very little fat yet rich amounts of carotenoids, some added avocado might go a long way in improving your carotenoid absorption and vitamin A nourishment. Salad greens—including romaine lettuce—and mixed greens like kale, chard, and spinach are great examples of very low fat, carotenoid-rich foods that might be eaten alone but would have more of their carotenoid-richness transferred over into your body with the help of some added avocado.