Pairing the perfect foods is good for more than just your tastebuds. In fact, the right combinations can take a healthy food and kick its disease-fighting powers into overdrive. Here are 6 top food pairings we highly recommend:
Here’s a good reason to add tomatoes to your next batch of homemade guacamole, or to add a few slices to your next breakfast of avo on toast. In June, a study from Purdue University explained that carotenoid nutrients, found in colorful produce like tomatoes, can’t be absorbed by the body unless they are delivered with a little fat. Tomatoes are well known for containing the carotenoid lycopene, which may decrease the risk of some cancers. To get all the disease-fighting benefits, pair them with about a quarter of an avocado, worth about 4 grams of absorption-boosting monounsaturated fats.
- Rosemary And Grilled Meat
While there’s nothing quite like a backyard barbecue, it’s true that overdoing your patties and steaks can create potentially cancer-causing chemicals called carcinogens that you really don’t want ending up on your bun. A 2008 study found that rosemary can help. The seasoning’s natural antioxidant content seems to stop the carcinogens from forming during cooking. And it doesn’t have to overpower the flavor of that patty, food science professor J.Scott Smith said in a statement, “Just a touch of rosemary extract, which doesn’t usually have an aroma, can do the trick.”
If this is a breakfast pairing you already enjoy, you’re on the right track. Oatmeal is a well-documented heart helper, but eating oats (and other whole-grain foods) with a side of vitamin C can help stabilize cholesterol levels to keep arteries clear.
A sprinkle of citrus can brighten up a salad and also turn those leafy greens into true nutritional powerhouses. That’s because plant-based iron, found in greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard and more, becomes easier for the body to absorb when eaten with vitamin C. A dash of lemon juice, a handful of strawberries or even some bell peppers will help convert the plant-based iron in your salad into a form that’s more similar to the iron found in fish and meat, according to Men’s Health. And that will keep us feeling energized and our immune systems strong.
The flavonoid quercetin, an antioxidant behind many of the health benefits of apples, and also found in berries, may help fight breathing problems and some cancers and keep memory sharp. But, when eaten in tandem with catechin, another flavonoid, this time found in purple grapes, the combo may inhibit blood clots and boost heart health. Other good sources of catechin, such as red wine, chocolate and green tea, work too.
- Turmeric And Black Pepper
Turmeric, which is commonly found in curries, has been singled out for a number of health benefits, including protection from developing diabetes. But it won’t do much good unless used alongside black pepper, which significantly increases the bioavailability of curcumin, the dominant compound in turmeric. That’s why, in supplement form, curcumin and turmeric are both prepared with black pepper extract or piperine, a compound of pepper, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.
Add some of these healthy food pairings into your diet today!