There are many things in life that belong together, such as peanut butter and jelly, thunder and lightning, salt and pepper and the ever popular...tomatoes and avocados. Really? This pairing may seem a little odd, but certain foods naturally work better when paired up. Nutrients interact in a unique way that affects absorption, boosts effectiveness of vitamins and neutralizes toxins. When two different foods are eaten together to create a powerful, nutrient-packed meal, it’s called food synergy – and it can work wonders for your overall health.
Make sure you’re getting the full benefits of the nutrients in your food by pairing wisely. Here are a few examples that will help with the absorption of essential nutrients your body needs every day.
Tomatoes + Avocado
This dynamic duo contains nutrients that support healthy cells and a healthy cardiovascular system. Tomatoes are full of the phytonutrient lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their luscious red color. With the addition of “good fat” from avocados, carotenoids become more bioavailable, meaning your body can absorb it in higher amounts. So in your next batch of homemade guacamole, try adding tomatoes to maximize the benefits of both foods.
Lemon + Leafy Greens
Plant-based iron found in leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, becomes easier for the body to absorb when combined with vitamin C. Iron plays an important role in metabolizing proteins and producing red blood cells, which help reduce muscle fatigue throughout your body. A dash of lemon juice in your salad will help convert the plant-based iron into a similar form of what’s found in red meats and fish. Together, they help boost your immune system and keep us feeling energized throughout the day.
Apples + Grapes
If you’re looking to make a fresh-fruit salad for those hot summer days, be sure to mix in some apples and grapes. Grapes are high in catechin, a type of antioxidant that helps blood vessels function normally. On the other hand, apples contain an anti-inflammatory flavonoid called quercetin, which helps support a healthy brain and heart. When paired together, it’s a heart-smart couple.
Oatmeal + Orange Juice
This common breakfast pair works together to keep your heart healthy. Organic compounds found in both foods, called phenols, are associated with heart health. Plus, the soluble fiber in oatmeal supports healthy cholesterol levels. This breakfast of champions is a great way to start your day on the right foot.
Beef + Carrots
Beef and carrots can be the perfect, hearty meal to kick-start your immune system. The vitamin A in carrots is best absorbed when paired with the protein found in beef. The mineral zinc can also be found in beef, which protects the functionality of the immune system. On top of these benefits, the vitamin A in carrots protects your vision by preventing the deterioration of photoreceptors in your eyes. This powerful duo makes for a great way to create a healthier body overall.
Thoughtfully planning your meals can maximize the health benefits certain foods provide. Your body depends on you to provide the proper nutrients it needs to function at an optimal level. Everything you eat matters, so keep these dynamic duos top of mind on your next shopping trip.