We all know the do’s and don’ts of healthy eating, but what you might not know is that there are certain foods that you should eat together in a meal in order to reap the full benefits of each of their respective nutrients, as well as improve how your body uses them. These healthy food pairings will give you optimal nutrient benefits and keep you feeling great.
GREENS & HEALTHY FATS
Green vegetables such as kale, spinach, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, zucchini and others are very nutrient-rich foods that can also help ward off illness. They’re also low in calories, which means they might not keep you full for very long. Pair them with healthy fats such as avocados, olives, coconut, nuts and seeds, all of which provide extra vitamins and minerals and soak up all the nutrients from the greens to improve your body’s functions.
How to pair them: Add some spinach, avocado and nuts/seeds to your next fruit smoothie, or top your soup and salad with nuts, coconut butter or almond butter.
Berries & Grains
Foods rich in Vitamin C help increase your body’s uptake of iron, which is why vitamin C-rich berries go so well with iron-rich grains. Plus, the water content from the berries helps aid in the digestion of fiber from the grains. When paired together, both help control blood pressure.
How to pair them: Add berries to your oatmeal, quinoa and other grains, or throw some cooked grains into your fruit salad.
Healthy Fats & Mushrooms
The most efficient and effective way for the body to absorb Vitamin D is in the presence of healthy fats. Therefore, Vitamin D-rich mushrooms are best utilized by the body when healthy fats are also present.
How to pair them: Add some avocado, olives, or some sliced almonds to your next dish with mushrooms. How about a roasted Portabello mushroom with some marinara sauce, olives, and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a healthy, low-carb vegan pizza?
Lemons & Greens
As mentioned, Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better, and leafy greens are one of the best sources of plant-based iron.
How to pair them: Substitute your typical salad dressing with lemon juice, squeeze some over some roasted kale or sauteed spinach, or add a wedge to your next green smoothie for a delicious flavor.
Tomatoes & Healthy Fats
Tomatoes are one of the best sources of the anti-cancer nutrient known as lycopene, which is better absorbed in the body when tomatoes are cooked and consumed with some healthy fats.
How to pair them: Cook tomatoes together with mushrooms and olives, and top off with avocados.
Information gathered from OneGreenPlanet.org.