Did you know that some foods are healthier together, rather than separately? It’s true! Get to know seven powerhouse pairings that can boost health and learn how to integrate them into your diet easily.
- Spinach and Strawberries
This combo hits the 1, 2 punch of iron + vitamin C, and it’s easy to toss together as a salad with balsamic dressing or a drizzle of olive oil. Studies show that the body absorbs iron more easily when it’s digested with vitamin C, so this combo is a great pick.
Pro Tip: Not a salad fan? Toss these in a blender with a dash of juice for a green smoothie to go.
- Beans and Rice
This pairing seems natural, because it’s such a staple meal found in food cultures around the world. But it’s also packed with health benefits. Considered a complete protein when eaten together, this combo provides fiber, protein, and folate – all in a single bowl.
Pro Tip: Brown rice is a whole grain, making it a better fiber choice than white rice.
- Green Tea and Lemon
Packed with antioxidants called catechins, green tea can help boost your metabolism and fight illness. Studies show that the body can absorb those antioxidants 5x more effectively when paired with citrus juice, like lemon.
Pro Tip: Drink it hot or iced – the benefits are the same!
- Yogurt and Bananas
Too good to be true? Nope! This breakfast favorite is a powerful combo. Bananas are rich in inulin fiber, which helps the body absorb the calcium found in yogurt.
Pro Tip: Avoid sugary and artificially flavored yogurts. Try plain Greek yogurt instead.
- Leafy Greens and Oil
Oil, really? Yes! It helps the body absorb the vital nutrients found in leafy greens, like vitamin D. So, take your leafy greens – kale, swiss chard, bok choy, spinach – and sauté away!
Pro Tip: Healthy oils only! Opt for olive oil or avocado oil to sauté fresh greens. Avoid soybean oil and corn oil.
- Turmeric and Black Pepper
Curcumin is an antioxidant associated with amazing health benefits, like improved blood lipids, weight loss, and improved insulin sensitivity. Though it’s naturally found in turmeric, it isn’t absorbed very easily – unless it has the help of a component called piperine, that is, which is found in black pepper. Research suggests that curcumin’s bioavailability is increased about 1000x with the help of piperine.
Pro Tip: Add turmeric and pepper to scrambled eggs for a quick boost. Or, season sautéed veggies with this powerful combo.
- Raw Veggies and Hard Boiled Eggs
If you hate cooking, then this combo is for you! Carotenoid – prolific in raw vegetables – is linked with many long-term health benefits, like reduced cancer risk, a longer lifespan, and reduced occurrence of chronic illness. Studies have found that carotenoids are absorbed up to 9x better when raw veggies are eaten with cooked eggs.
Pro Tip: The more, the better. While a single cooked egg improved carotenoid absorption 3x in the experiment, adding 3 eggs showed a 9x improvement in carotenoid absorption.
The Bottom Line
You’ve probably recognized a pattern here. These powerhouse pairings are all about nutrient absorption. Learning how to pair certain components together can boost the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals – and it doesn’t hurt to keep your taste buds entertained, either!