Do you want to know a simple and effortless trick to improve the nutrient value of your meals? Combining two or more products will not only create delicious recipes, but it’s also good for you. Some foods work well together because they can help your body efficiently absorb the nutrients in these products. Through this, you can enjoy the different flavors of your favorite plant-based products and get the optimum health benefits they can provide. To give you a better idea, here are five food combos for better nutrition.
1. SPINACH AND STRAWBERRIES
Most of us try to avoid bitter-flavored leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. But, these veggies are great sources of valuable substances like iron. As you know, getting the recommended daily dose of iron is a bit challenging, especially if you prefer a plant-based diet. To make matters worse, iron deficiency may lead to anemia- one of the most common reasons you’re always tired.
The good news is that spinach and strawberries are a powerful combo that can help prevent iron deficiency, especially for vegans. This is not only because the sweetness of strawberries can mask the bitterness in spinach, allowing you to eat more of this bitter-flavored veggie. Basically, the red-colored fruit is rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that can increase your body’s absorption of iron. So, by adding strawberries, you can now enjoy your green smoothie and get more iron at the same time.
Other food pairings you can try that has these two essential nutrients are kale and bell peppers or iron-fortified cereals and orange juice.
2. GREEN TEA AND LEMON JUICE
A popular blend in this list of food combos for better nutrition is green tea and lemon juice. For most of us, adding lemon creates a flavorful tea. But, did you know that this citrus fruit enhances the health benefits of green tea?
As you know, most of the green tea’s health-promoting properties are due to its catechins like Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). However, a lot of these healthful substances will not survive the journey to your intestines- where about 90% of absorption occurs. This is because catechins are easily destroyed in a non-acidic environment. But, with a squeeze of lemon juice (an acidic product), the survival and absorption rate of these beneficial compounds may increase.
3. AVOCADO AND TOMATOES
For those who love guacamole, combining tomatoes with avocados will not only improve the recipe’s appeal but the flavor, as well. Your body can also absorb more carotenoids (lycopene and beta-carotene) with the help of the healthy fats in the green-colored fruit. To explain further, keep in mind that carotenoids are fat soluble. Thus, your body can easily break down and absorb these nutrients in the presence of oil or fatty product. This is also true for vitamins A, D, E, and K. For this reason, experts recommend eating vegetable salads with olive oil or full-fat dressings. You can also add some nuts and seeds to your recipes. Remember, these small products are some of the best plant sources of the brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
4. VEGGIE STICKS AND HUMMUS
Veggie sticks dipped in hummus is one of the most highly recommended food combos for better nutrition. This is especially true if you’re searching for a low-calorie yet tasty snack.
Basically, veggies (carrots, celery, or asparagus) and hummus are rich in fat-soluble vitamins and fats. However, for this delicious snack, let’s focus on their fiber and protein contents – a valuable combo if you’re aiming to lose weight. As you know, both nutrients can increase your feeling of satiety. But, that’s not all. The complex carbohydrates and proteins in these foods can also provide added energy that boosts your alertness when you start feeling sluggish while working or studying.
Other highly recommended afternoon snacks that boost energy are peanut butter sandwich, chia seed pudding, and vegan yogurt topped with fruits.
5. RICE AND BEANS
The last in this list of food combos for better nutrition is the popular combination of rice and beans. As you know, both products are good vegan meat alternatives but with minor flaws. Basically, beans are low in the amino acid methionine and rich in lysine. On the other hand, rice has high amounts of methionine and low in lysine. Thus, pairing beans with rice will produce a complete protein, a necessity for those who prefer a plant-based diet. The best part is that this affordable combo may also promote a healthy heart and prevent type-2 diabetes.
- Carotenoids and Avocado (JN)
- Green Tea and Citrus Juice (Purdue University)