Food Pairings for better health! Get the most nutrition from your food by eating these delicious food combinations.

Have you ever wondered why certain food are often eaten together, like a spinach and an orange salad? Not only do these foods taste great when eaten together, they also provide significant nutritional benefits! In other words, the total is greater than the sum of the parts.

Here are some of my favourite food duos to benefit your body:

Spinach + Oranges for Iron Rich Red Blood Cells

If you have ever felt tired or low on energy, it might be because you have low iron levels. One of the best ways to help your body absorb more iron from your food is by combining a vitamin C rich food along with an iron rich food. A spinach and orange salad is a great example of this pairing. The vitamin C rich from the oranges will increase your body’s ability to absorb more of the natural iron from the spinach. So go ahead and enjoy a spinach and orange salad and boost your iron absorption at the same time!

Yogurt Yogurt + Prunes for Bone Health

Calcium and vitamin D are important for helping to keep bones strong, but did you know there are other key nutrients like vitamin K and manganese that are also important for bone health?

A way to get all of these bone-building nutrients is to whip up a yogurt and prune parfait! Yogurt is great source of calcium for the bones and contains vitamin D. Vitamin D is important because it aids with calcium absorption. Current studies also show that vitamin K and manganese are other important key nutrients for maintaining healthy bones. Prunes are very high in both of these bone building nutrients. Research has demonstrated that eating just 5-6 prunes per day helps slow bone loss and helps maintain bone strength in postmenopausal women. This easy and delicious combination helps maintain healthy bones! You can read more about this bone health research here.

Lentils + Rice for Muscle Strength

Pulses like lentils are versatile and contain important plant protein. When combined with rice, this food paring creates a complete protein. Meaning the amino acids in lentils and rice complement each other. Lentils contain certain essential amino acids and rice contains other essential amino acids that the lentils are missing. When eaten together they create a complete protein. Protein is an essential nutrient for repairing and healing tissue, and for helping build and maintain muscle mass.

Tomatoes + Oil for Prostate Health

Have you ever noticed tomatoes become a more vibrant red when you cook them? That is because a key antioxidant lycopene, that gives tomatoes their beautiful red colour, becomes easier to absorb when tomatoes are cooked. Cooking tomatoes ruptures or breaks the plant cell walls, freeing-up the lycopene, so it can be better absorbed. We can absorb even more lycopene when a fat like canola oil is added during cooking. So, add a little heart healthy oil like Canadian grown canola oil to your tomato sauce! Research shows that lycopene is an important anti-inflammatory compound that plays an important role in helping to maintain prostate health.

Dark chocolate + Apples for Heart Health

This healthy pairing makes a quick and delicious dessert that will satisfy your sweet craving. Together, dark chocolate and apples have the potential to improve heart health.  The cocoa in dark chocolate is rich in catechins. Emerging research demonstrates that this antioxidant may help prevent the hardening of arteries.  Dark chocolate has six times more catechins than milk chocolate. The skin of particularly red apples contains the flavonoid quercetin, which helps reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. When paired, they potentially help play a role in reducing the risk of developing heart disease.