We’re all aware of the foods that taste great together but what if combining certain foods could actually benefit your health too? This concept has been labelled as “food synergy” and refers to the idea that foods can interact in ways that provide more nutritional value to your body.
When you consume food, you’re probably already aware of the nutrients found in it, however did you know that certain food combinations can directly affect the rate at which your body absorbs vitamins and minerals?
Making a conscious effort to pair certain foods together can result in your body absorbing more minerals and vitamins- which is great for protecting against disease. There are major health benefits from incorporating these simple food pairings into your diet and what’s more, some of these food combinations probably already exist in your day-to-day meals without you even realising!
Here are 7 food combinations to remember when you’re doing a food shop or planning an evening meal, so you can boost your nutritional intake without having to rely on supplements!
Black beans and red peppers
Black beans are a great source of iron, but iron in plants and vegetables is known as non-heme iron, which isn’t as readily absorbed into the body as the iron found in meats. However, vitamin C rich foods – like red pepper – increase absorption of non-heme iron by up to six times! Therefore by pairing black beans and red peppers your body will absorb non-heme iron with the help of vitamin C.
Olive oil and tomatoes
Olive oil and tomatos taste great together. But did you know that including 3-5g of fat with red and orange foods (those rich in carotenoids) can result in better absorption of the food into the body? This is essential as tomatoes and other foods containing carotenoids are often packed full of antioxidant properties that protect body from disease. Therefore pairing tomatoes and olive oil can increase the amount of antioxdants the body absorbs. A simple tomato salad for lunch complete with a olive oil dressing may be a great way of incorporating this into your diet!
Turmeric and black pepper
Curcumin is an active ingredient in turmeric that has been shown to possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. However curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body unless it is in the presence of piperine – a compound found in black pepper.
Banana and yoghurt
Yoghurt, like other dairy foods, is a rich source of calcium which is needed for healthy bones, teeth and muscle function. Research has shown that combining foods rich in calcium with foods rich in inulin (such as bananas) can increase the absorption of this mineral into the body.
Salmon and crème fraîche
Salmon is one of the few foods that actually contains vitamin D and whilst the best form of vitamin D is through sunlight, food sources are also great for keeping your body healthy and topped-up. The presence of vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium – which is found in dairy foods. So pairing salmon and crème fraîche is a match made in heaven, not only taste-wise, but also so your body can absorb sufficient calcium.
Green tea and lemon juice
Green tea is full of antioxidants that reduce the risk of disease! Researchers at Purdue University found that combining green tea with lemon juice increases the amount of antioxidants available for the body to absorb.
Dark chocolate and apples
These two sweet treats paired together have the potential to improve your cardiovascular health. Apple skin contains the flavonoid “quercetin” which acts as an anti-inflammatory and cocoa in dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that helps to prevent artieries hardening. The two foods combined together have been shown to help break up blood clots!