Dynamic food duos boosting nutrition
Spaghetti and meatballs, toast and eggs, peanut butter and jelly – these are the Batman and Robin of food dynamic duos – flavor-wise, certain pairs of food are naturally better together, complementing one another. It’s the same way when pairing certain foods together to bring out a bigger nutritional punch. This is known as food synergy.
Food synergy has been studied over the years and has had a growing interest in looking at the relationship between certain foods. It is defined as nutrients in foods working together to create greater health effects. When pairing certain foods together at a meal or snack, they can do more for your health than by themselves or on their own.
Combining foods to achieve a synergistic effect, is a little like combining certain instruments together to create beautiful music. A flute by itself can certainly make a lovely sound but when you add in a cello, violin, clarinet and a French horn, the musical effect is so much more powerful and dynamic. Food synergy is also dynamic when nutrients between two foods work together in the body for maximum health benefits.
Certain foods eaten together are just naturally meant to be. Practicing food synergy works best when you choose food in its most natural form as possible and eat a wide variety of whole foods regularly. This is where you’ll see the best chance of reducing your risk chronic diseases while giving you the greatest health improvements
Here’s how to harness the power of food pairings to make your diet extra nutritious and delicious:
· Add fat to salads
Of course your dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale are already nutritional heavy hitters. But to really amp up their nutrient power, avoid using fat-free salad dressings. This may sound contradictory but this is why: A 2017 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that people who consumed salads that included oils such as soybean oil improved absorption rates of several key nutrients of A, E, and K, beta-carotene and lutein, compared to salads without any oil whatsoever.
Research has also demonstrated that sources of fat such as avocados, peanut butter, and whole eggs also improved absorption of beta-carotene in vegetables like carrots and peppers leading to higher levels of vitamin A in the body. Bring on healthy sources of fat such as olive oil, nuts, and seeds to bring out the best in vegetables nutritional offerings.
· Pair fiber-rich foods with probiotics
To keep your vast microbe of good bacteria in your gut happy and healthy, you need probiotic-rich foods. Fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt fit the bill as probiotics feeding your beneficial bacteria improving health of digestive and immune functioning.
Besides using probiotic-rich food to help out your robust colony of bacteria, be sure to also include fiber-rich foods for them to feast on. Make it a point to pair probiotics foods with food high in fiber such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and beans.
· Pair iron with vitamin C
Iron wears many jobs of transporting oxygen flow throughout the body to maintaining healthy nails, hair, and skin. If you are lacking iron, your body is unable to make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells which can result in iron deficiency anemia. This can lead to feelings of extreme fatigue including affecting brain functioning and your immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
Iron is found in both animal and plant foods. But iron in plant foods such as beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, spinach and some whole grains contain iron in a form called non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is not absorbed nearly as well as iron found in animal foods.
But one way to get around this dilemma is to eat a food rich in vitamin C when eating a plant source of iron. Vitamin C assists and converts plant-based iron into a form that is more readily absorbable. That’s why a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that women who ate iron-rich fortified cereal with kiwi fruit, which is especially rich in vitamin C, were able to improve their iron levels. Start today of pairing iron-containing foods with other sources of vitamin C like bell peppers, broccoli and any citrus fruit.