You eat your veggies, get your daily recommended amount of protein and avoid junk food (most of the time). But did you know that you could be even healthier if you just paired certain foods together? How cool is that? All you have to do is combine specific foods and you will be a health SUPERSTAR. It’s that easy.
We’ll pretty much put avocado on anything, so it’s great to know that you can boost avocados’ health powers even more by simply adding it to salads. Research shows that avocados can increase the absorption of nutrients in leafy greens by a whopping 400 PERCENT! So if you want to be a nutritional god/goddess, start putting ‘cados on all your salads.
Another reason to love the great avocado. When you pair avocados and tomatoes, you make it easier for your body to absorb the carotenoids in tomatoes. Carotenoids are power players in many different areas of our health, from eye health to cardiovascular health. So if you want to killer vision and a badass immune system, upgrade your BLT to a BLTA.
This tip is especially helpful for anyone that tends to have low iron levels. Since vitamin C boosts the absorption of iron in our bodies, it’s important to combine iron-packed leafy greens with vitamin C. One mango contains 100 percent of the daily vitamin C recommendation, so adding some mango to a salad or to a green smoothie is a great way to unleash your inner Iron Man.
We already know green tea is a fat-burning machine, but you can up its benefits even further by combining it with a bit of citrus. Green tea is rich in EGCG, a catechin that has been linked to fat burning, increasing metabolism and blocking allergy-associated histamine release. So splash a bit of lemon in your green tea and get ready to rev your metabolism.
Raw veggies are jam-packed with nutrients. Sadly, our bodies simply can’t absorb all of them… but we can increase the absorption of these nutrients by pairing veggies with certain foods like eggs. Studies show that the fat in eggs can help make nutrients like carotenoids more available for absorption, so you can turn your body into a nutrient-absorbing machine by topping your omelet with some veggies or adding some hard-boiled egg to your salad.
Just like the fat in eggs, the healthy fat in olive oil can boost the nutritional value of your veggies. Drizzle some olive oil over your salad or roast some veggies in olive oil to pump your body with some extra beta-carotene. If you need a quick refresher, beta-carotene is key to a healthy immune system and eye health.
Here’s another potent iron-vitamin C combo, except this time you get to sink your teeth into a juicy steak. Beef is loaded with iron, and broccoli is rich in vitamin C, so if you eat the two foods together, your body will absorb more iron than it would if you had, say, steak and mashed potatoes. So go ahead, eat your steak in the name of health.
Don’t worry, vegetarians, you don’t have to eat a bloody steak to get your iron fix. Tofu is actually a great source of iron, and you can increase the iron absorption rate from your tofu by – you guessed it – adding a food with vitamin C. Since bell peppers are great sources of vitamin C (they have more vit C than oranges!), they’re the perfect addition to a tofu dish.
If you take anything away from this article, it should be just how important vitamin C is to our health. Not only is vitamin C healthy on its own (vitamin C is an immune system hero), but it’s also a powerful sidekick for other nutrients, namely iron. So if you want to reap the most health benefits possible from your salad (which I’m assuming you do, because who eats a salad just for fun?), you should add a splash of lemon juice. Or, as we’ve learned, you can rely on other foods to get your vitamin C, like broccoli or red peppers.
Researchers found that by adding garlic and onion to whole grains, the iron in the grains became easier to absorb. This is great news for flavor fans, because garlic and onion taste good with, like, everything. So next time you’re making a grain dish – like a whole-wheat pasta, perhaps – consider incorporating some garlic and onion to make it 1) more delicious and 2) a superfood feast.
Most cereals these days are fortified with iron, which is why you should combine a bowl of cereal with a vitamin-C rich fruit like strawberries. Next step: add a bit of yogurt (or milk) to the bowl, as the fat in the yogurt will help your body absorb the nutrients in the strawberries. Boom. That’s a power breakfast right there.
By now, you know one of the dynamic duos in the health world is iron and vitamin C, but that’s certainly not the only important pair out there. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium, which is why a meal comprised of kale and salmon will help you boost your calcium intake. Kale is rich in calcium, while salmon (as well as other oily fish) is a great source of vitamin D. Put them together for an ultra-healthy, bone-strengthening meal.
This combo is especially potent post-workout, as the combination of healthy carbs and protein aids with muscle recovery. So after you hit the gym, eat a banana and some nut butter for a healthy – yet pretty darn tasty – post-workout snack. Or combine the two ingredients with some protein powder for a healthy smoothie.
Turmeric, the bright yellow spice that is used in many curries, is somewhat of a health superstar, and it has been linked to reduced inflammation, improved moods and a decrease in chronic pain. To get the most bang for your buck with turmeric, pair it with black pepper. A compound in black pepper called piperine increases the absorption rate of turmeric’s nutrients. Yet another reason to eat more curry.