You may have heard that proper food combining helps with the body’s digestive processes, but now experts are saying that some food duos do more than just excite your taste buds; certain foods, when eaten together, boost the overall nutrition.
Sticking to your favorite whole foods is good, but some of these food combinations are even better
You may already know that black beans are a good source of iron, but combining them with another plant-based food rich in vitamin C, such as red bell peppers, you increase the absorption of non-heme iron by six times! (1)
A 2010 study found in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry also shows that sulfur-rich foods such as garlic and onion could make whole grains even more nutritious. Researchers found that the addition of garlic and onion to cooked or raw food grains enhanced the accessibility of iron and zinc in both cases. (1)
It’s well known that olive oil is a heart-healthy fat that boosts good HDL cholesterol and lowers bad LDL cholesterol. Next time, try pairing it with tomatoes. A study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that people who consume tomato products with extra-virgin olive oil raised the antioxidant activity of the lycopene in tomatoes, making it even more nutritious for you. (1,2,3)
Broccoli and tomatoes are another award-winning combination with cancer-fighting powers. (1) In a study found in Cancer Research, it was found that diets containing 10 percent tomato and 10 percent broccoli caused a 52 percent decrease in tumor weights, while diets with just tomatoes saw a 34 percent decrease and the diet with just broccoli had a 42 percent decrease. (1)
What about green tea and black pepper?
Green tea has an antioxidant called EGCG, which can boost metabolism and protect against cancer. However, the key chemical found in black pepper, piperine, could make EGCG work even better. In a study found in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that piperine increased the absorption of EGCG. You could also try pairing it with turmeric, which has a powerful antioxidant called curcumin. Interestingly, if you pair the turmeric with the piperine, the bioavailability of curcumin improves by 1000 times! (1,4)
Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin and is best absorbed when paired with fat, such as olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fats that help lower your risk of heart disease. You’ll boost your intake of vitamin K and keep your heart happy all at the same time. (1)
Speaking of vitamin K, kale is always an excellent choice. It’s also a good source of vitamin E, known for boosting our immune systems and protecting against cancer and heart disease. But like vitamin K, vitamin E is also fat-soluble. Pair it with a nutritious source of fat, like almonds, to increase its absorption. (1)
Try this to satisfy your sweet tooth craving!
Dark chocolate and apples have the potential to improve cardiovascular health, and when paired together they help break up blood clots. (1) If you aren’t an apple fan, then raspberries are another good choice to pair with dark chocolate. (2)
Perhaps there is something to food combining, after all?
Image source: flic.kr