Foods that Pack More Nutritional Punch When Eaten Together

Some foods were made for each other. Registered dietitian Sue Mah says that when combine foods in certain ways, we create a "food synergy", meaning foods are more nutritious and nutrients are better absorbed when they're eaten together. Here are some examples:

Grains and Legumes

legumes and grains

Most plant-based foods such as rice and beans contain "incomplete proteins" — this means that they are missing one or more of the essential amino acids that we need to get from food. Amino acids are important because they are building blocks for protein.

With food combos such as rice and beans, we're combining grains with legumes. Grains have the missing amino acid that legumes have, and legumes have the missing amino acid that grains have. So by combining these foods, we're getting complementary proteins and all of the essential amino acids that we need. Another common example would be a peanut butter sandwich because again we're combining grains with nuts or legumes.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D

Sushi and edamame is perfect pairing if you're thinking of a Japanese inspired meal. Edamame beans are a good source of calcium. Pair them with salmon because the vitamin D in salmon helps your body better absorb calcium.

There are not many foods that contain vitamin D. Fish like salmon, halibut and trout naturally contain vitamin D as do shiitake mushrooms, eggs and milk.

Steak and Marinades

red meat and marinade

Cooking any type of meat (red meat, poultry and seafood) at high temperatures like barbecuing actually creates chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These are a problem because they can increase our risk for cancer.

Rosemary contains different antioxidants that seem to help lower the amount of these chemicals that are formed, and marinating your meat helps too! According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, marinating your meat before grilling can reduce the formation of the HCA chemicals by up to 96 per cent. Sue's advice is to make a marinade with fresh rosemary and use lean meats.

Lycopene and Fat

lycopene and fat

Tomatoes have the highest concentration of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that gives tomatoes its beautiful red colour. Studies show that lycopene may help protect against different types of cancer (like lung, stomach and prostate cancer). Lycopene is better absorbed when it's eaten with a small amount of oil or fat and also when it's cooked. So cook up some tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes and olive oil (you can use any other oil like canola or sunflower).

Watermelon, papayas and grapefruit all contain lycopene. Try pairing a grapefruit salad with avocado — the fat in the avocado boosts the absorption of lycopene from the grapefruit.

Turmeric and Black Pepper

turmeric and black pepper

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is practically a staple ingredient in India. In fact, to eat the same amount of turmeric as they eat in India, we'd have to eat four kilograms of mustard every day! The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. Some researchers think that the curcumin in turmeric might prevent or slow the growth of cancer tumours.

Black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric in your body by 1000 times because of its hot property, peperine.

 

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