March is recognized as National Nutrition Month, making it a great time to evaluate the food and beverages you’re putting into your body.
Did you know that some nutrients aren’t optimally absorbed if you eat them on their own? Instead, they need to be paired with other nutrients for your body to get the most value out of them. Fortunately, that’s as simple as eating certain food combinations together.
Food Combos to Try
Nutritionists recommend the following common food pairings to aid in the best nutrient absorption:
- Beans and rice—Beans and chickpeas are packed with protein and fiber, which can balance out starches like rice. When eaten together, they can help prevent blood-sugar spikes and energy crashes.
- Leafy greens and avocado—Healthy fats (e.g., avocado, olive oil and salmon) can increase the absorption of carotenoids in plants. These nutrients are essential for healthy eyes, skin and immune systems. Healthy fats are a great way to dress up salads and get essential nutrients.
- Spinach and citrus—Heme iron comes from animal proteins, and non-heme iron is found in plant foods. Vitamin C can aid in absorbing non-heme iron, protecting against inflammation and chronic diseases. For ideal absorption, pair spinach with citrus fruits or other vitamin c-loaded foods.
- Citrus and green tea—Green tea is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is associated with increased metabolism and reduced inflammation. When paired with citrus, such as orange or lemon, your body can better absorb EGCG. Drinking tea alone and between meals is also recommended to maximize the amount of catechins you absorb.
- Fish and broccoli—Vitamin D and calcium are good for your bones, but they’re even stronger together. Consider plating calcium-rich broccoli with fish high in vitamin D, such as salmon or tuna.
Since your ability to absorb nutrients can decrease as you age, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about any personal questions or concerns.
Header Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh on Unsplash