It will come as no surprise to most of you that these foods, on their own, are nutritious. But perhaps what you didn’t know is that pairing these foods together, boosts their nutritional value even more. What’s great about these combos is that these foods go well together anyways!
1) Yogurt + oats:
Yogurt is made by adding active bacterial cultures to milk. The probiotic (or healthy beneficial bacteria) helps to keep your digestive system healthy and your immunity strong. What a lot of people don’t know is that prebiotics (naturally occurring in foods like oats, barley, flaxseed, berries, beans and lentils), act as the “fuel” or “food” for probiotics, allowing them to flourish in the digestive tract and do their job.
2) Garlic or onions + Brown Rice:
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that combining garlic and/or onions with whole grain foods such as brown rice, may help boost the absorption of iron and zinc found in whole grains. This is great news because Iron and Zinc are absorbed less from plant sources than animal sources. It is thought that it is the sulphur compounds in onion and garlic that do this good work. Iron helps to carry oxygen to our cells and zinc is important for wound healing and immunity. Researchers don’t know exactly how, but speculate that sulfur compounds in onions and garlic are what help to promote absorption.
3) Mixed beans + tomatoes:
The vitamin C content in tomatoes (or other vitamin C-rich foods) can help with “non-heme” iron absorption of plant based iron sources such as beans, lentils and some leafy greens. This is good news for chili lovers! Also try adding orange slices to a spinach salad.
4) Yogurt + canned salmon:
The Vitamin D found naturally in salmon (one of the only food sources of Vitamin D that we have), in combination with calcium-rich yogurt (or milk) can help calcium absorption in the small intestine. This can help with bone health, preventing bone fractures and Osteoporosis. So the next time you have a salmon salad sandwich, try mixing plain yogurt into your salmon instead of mayo.
5) Apples + raspberries:
The antioxidant ellagic acid (found in fruits such as raspberries, pomegranates and cranberries) can enhance the ability of quercetin (an anti-oxidant found in apples and grapes) to kill off cancer cells. So, enjoy fruit salad more often! Research is now showing that the phytochemicals in certain fruits often work better in pairs or groups, proving that supplements with single nutrients are not nearly as powerful and beneficial as whole foods.
6) Green tea + lemon:
Adding some citrus fruit (such as lemon, orange or grapefruit) to green tea reduces the breakdown of its catechins (powerful cancer and heart disease-fighting antioxidants) in the digestion system, allowing for better absorption.
Check out my food pairings segment on Breakfast Television Calgary here.