If you kept a food diary, we trust you’d get gold stars for all the clean-eating foods you consume. But get this—there’s a way you can bump your nutrition to the next level, with no extra work, and it’s as simple as knowing which foods to eat together. (Remember when we learned about the game-changing better way to eat avocados?) Whether it’s fat-soluble vitamins or anti-inflammatory spices, here are some food pairings that’ll help you reap the benefits of everything you’re eating.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Strawberries- Iron is essential to keeping our bodies running smoothly—but it’s also the top nutritional deficiency among Americans. Particularly for women who are active, having even low iron levels can translate to feeling sluggish and weak. But tweaking your diet can be as easy as adding strawberries to your iron-packed oatmeal. Vitamin C and iron are a match made in nutritional heaven: the vitamin helps our bodies absorb non-heme iron, which is the more difficult type to process.
Lunch: A Veggie-Packed Salad with Olive Oil-Based Dressing- Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble, meaning you need to pair them with a fat in order for your body to get the most out of them. While some people skip the dressing to “be healthy,” if your salad includes a lot of Vitamin A-rich veggies like carrots, red bell pepper and baked sweet potatoes, be sure to drizzle it with a generous amount of dressing that includes healthy fat sources like olive, walnut or sesame seed oil to maximize your body’s ability to absorb the vitamins.
Snack: Garlicky Hummus- According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the sulfur compounds found in vegetables like onions, garlic and leeks (either cooked or raw!) allow your body to absorb more iron and zinc from grains and legumes, like chickpeas. Vegans and vegetarians might especially benefit from this power pairing since they are often more often deficient in iron and zinc than their meat-eating counterparts. Takeaway for all: If you’re making your own hummus (or adding mix-ins to any store-bought variety) toss in extra garlic for increased mineral absorption.
Dinner: Spicy Carrot Soup with Tumeric and Black Pepper- Tumeric (also known as Indian saffron or yellow ginger) called. It wants to hang out with black pepper on the spice shelf. A potent herb, tumeric is poorly absorbed in your digestive system, but has been linked in numerous studies to combating many chronic disease. By pairing it with black pepper, which contains piperine, your body is better able to absorb it. Try this spicy carrot soup; your body will thank you for all the antioxidants.
Couldn’t be any easier, right? No wonder garlic and hummus always taste so good together. Your body knew all along.
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