There are great food combos… bacon and eggs, milk and cookies, peanut butter and jelly. But did you know that pairing certain foods together can give you a big nutrition boost? When it comes to absorbing nutrients, our bodies can benefit from having certain foods together. Many vitamins and minerals work synergistically, meaning there can be a greater benefit if you pair two foods in the same meal.
APPLES AND BLUEBERRIES
Phytochemicals are antioxidants which may reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer. Phytochemicals are found in fruit, and when you eat fruits together, you can multiply their antioxidant benefits. Instead of eating an apple or filling a bowl with blueberries, try having a little bit of both. Slice up the apple and serve it with a handful of blueberries. Making a fruit smoothie for breakfast or a snack will help give your body these disease-fighting benefits.
TOMATOES AND AVOCADO
The red coloring of tomatoes comes from their concentration of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid with antioxidant properties- research suggests it may also block the growth of cancer cells. Fat helps your body absorb the lycopene. Bonus: avocadoes are a healthy fat! Try adding diced tomatoes to guacamole or slices of avocado to a salad.
TUNA AND KALE
The recipe for strong bones is not just weight bearing exercise. Two important nutrients are calcium and vitamin D. Tuna and salmon are both rich in vitamin D. Pair one of these with some kale, a good source of calcium, and you have the recipe for a bone-healthy meal.
LEAN BEEF AND BROCCOLI
According to the CDC, iron is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the U.S. Low iron can lead to fatigue and women are most susceptible. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron; pairing beef or lentils, which are high in iron, with broccoli or tomatoes, which are high in vitamin C, is a great way to boost the body’s iron.
PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANAS
After exercising, your body needs both protein and carbohydrates. It is important to refuel yourself with both of these macronutrients after a workout to allow your body to recover and grow stronger. Try a frozen banana dipped in peanut butter or a PB and banana sandwich on whole grain bread as a post-workout snack.