Food Pairings That Increase Nutritional Benefits

They Go Together Like Peaches and Cream

Food Pairings that Increase Nutritional Benefits

Certain foods seem like they were meant to go together. Peaches and cream are a famous Southern dessert, for instance, and who hasn’t enjoyed a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Although these pairings may taste great together, they don’t offer any additional nutritional value by being combined. Some food pairings, however, boost each others’ health benefits in important ways:

  1. Green Tea and Lemon Juice: As discussed in an earlier post, green tea is very high in anti-oxidants called catechins. Lemon juice (or the juice of any citrus fruit like lime, orange, or grapefruit) helps to break the catechins down faster so that the body can absorb them better.
  2. Colorful Vegetables and Fats: Colorful vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and peppers contain nutrients called carotenoids. Carotenoids like lycopene and beta carotene can help fight disease and inflammation. Studies show that when eaten with fat (in the most recent study, it was an egg), carotenoid absorption increased 3.8-fold. Salad dressing would do the trick, or pair your bright vegetables with an avocado to add healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Read our post on oils to learn more about the healthiest fats.
  3. Turmeric and Black Pepper: Turmeric has well-documented anti-inflammatory properties. Now, a study has shown that when consumed with black pepper, the availability of its curcumin (the active nutrient in turmeric) increases 2,000%. This means the body can absorb it much better and faster.
  4. Beans and Vitamin C: Beans are an important source of iron, especially for vegetarians or those who rarely eat meat. The iron in beans and other vegetables such as spinach is called nonheme iron (as opposed to heme iron, which is only found in meat, poultry, and fish), and the body can’t easily absorb it. But when it’s paired with Vitamin C, it converts to a form that the body can absorb more easily.
  5. Grilled Steak and Rosemary: Rosemary adds nice flavor to a grilled steak, but it also takes something important away: the carcinogens that can form from the grill. If you don’t like the flavor of the herb, just add some rosemary extract for its anticarcinogen properties.

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