I love food. Period. I love experimenting with food too and I love mostly all sorts of food pairings except maybe seaweed with Sushi (Oh C’mon, spare me the judging). We all have those foods that we love eating together: peanut butter and jelly, watermelon and feta, yogurt and berries. Did you know that there could be some science behind these food pairings actually?
The way you combine foods not only changes their nutritive value but also impacts the benefit you get from them. Certain foods when combined together are great antioxidants and also help with the absorption of essential nutrients in the body. Here is a list of these power packed couple foods that can ensure you have great health and nutrition.
Vitamin C and Plant Based Iron To best absorb plant based iron that comes from green leafy vegetables or lentils is to add a little dose of Vitamin C to it. The vitamin C helps break the iron down into a form that the body can more easily absorb. It is not easy to eat or prepare a diet that contains both everyday hence it’s better to combine them together in a single meal. For example, add lemon juice to a spinach salad or add tomatoes to a green leafy vegetable dish or lentil curry. You can even add vegetables like broccoli to non-plant based food like read meat for better iron consumption.
Eggs and Salad The best way to absorb nutrients from your raw veggies is to add an egg to it. No wonder vegetable egg muffins and a spinach and mushroom omelet are so delicious. People who ate a salad topped with three scrambled eggs absorbed three to nine times more carotenoids—including lycopene and beta-carotene, two antioxidants that may reduce cancer risk, slow down cognitive decline, and prevent heart disease. Phew, well that is too much science to read but definitely a great reason to add egg to your diet plus you get your dose of protein too!!
Tomatoes, Roasted Vegetables and OIL In each red gem of a tomato, you’ll find lycopene, an incredible disease-fighting antioxidant. Cooking the tomatoes, as well as serving them with a bit of olive oil, has shown to enhance the body’s absorption of the photo chemical. Whip up a tomato sauce with olive oil, or drizzle oil onto baked veggies. You can even substitute olive oil with some butter and avocado too.
Turmeric and Black Pepper This wonder spice combo is known to cure ailments and has been used as flavoring agent for delicacies for ages. Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. The spice can help relieve symptoms of arthritis and may also benefit kidney health according to various studies. Black pepper makes the beneficial compounds in turmeric more bio available. Use them for seasoning salads or simply add them to a dish, they taste wonderful either ways.
Garlic, Onions and Whole Grains Ever wondered why there is so much garlic and onions in the desi recipes.No,it’s not just for the flavor but when you add them to whole grains, they make the zinc and iron more effective for the body. Add the pungent spices to cooked rice, top your next whole-grain sandwich with onions, or toss them with whole-grain spaghetti.
Vitamin D and Calcium This vitamin-and-mineral combo will help keep your bones healthy. Vitamin D helps bring in more calcium from the foods you eat and the supplements you take. The two work together because the active vitamin D form causes a cascade of effects that increases the absorption of dietary calcium in the intestines. Eat a variety of calcium-providing foods, including collard greens, broccoli, dried figs, oranges and dairy foods.
Complementary Proteins Not all foods you eat contain the essential amino acids your body needs and that is why you need to eat a variety of proteins. Usually complete proteins are often obtained from animal products like meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs however they can be found in non-animal products such as soy foods, nuts, legumes, grains and vegetables. When you compare multiple incomplete proteins such as rice and beans or hummus and crackers or whole wheat and corn, you create a complete protein.
Fat and Fat Soluble Vitamins. Our body digests Vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E and K when paired with a fat source. You need to get enough of these vitamins and maximally absorbing them is important because deficiencies are connected with heightened risks. You’ll find vitamin A and vitamin K in leafy green veggies; vitamin A in orange and yellow veggies and tomatoes; and vitamin E in a variety of nuts and seeds. Also the ever famous desi gajar ka halwa is made in milk traditionally for a reason. Green Leafy vegetables which are a great source of Vitamin K are best when cooked with a little fat. All your nuts are a good accompaniment for milk and milkshakes.
These food pairing groups also make your meal preparations easier because you know what to add to your food to make it scrumptious and nutritious at the same time.
So the next time you are eating something don’t forget to add its partner to eat.Happy eating and being fit.