Push-ups and pull-ups, peanut butter and jelly, Seinfeld and Kramer. Some pairs just go together. And, according to latest studies, the same holds true for nutrients. Scientists call it food synergy, two or more nutrients coming together to produce greater health benefits.
For example, if you combine an apple with raspberries, their phytochemicals hook up to ward off cancer more efficiently then if each were eaten alone. According to Matthew G. Kadey, MS, RD, top researchers are discovering that the right food combinations can keep our bodies fit, too. Here are three good-chemistry couples to help start taking advantage of the power of pairs.
Iron and Vitamin C: By altering the structure of iron, Vitamin C-found in fruits and vegetables, helps maximize the absorption of iron from vegetables. This helps the iron to transport oxygen to muscles and the brain.
Pairs to try: Spinach(iron) with tomatoes(Vit C), Pumpkin seeds(iron) tossed with blueberries(Vit C), Quinoa(iron) tossed with steamed broccoli (Vit C)
Calcium and Vitamin D: For the calcium in dairy to properly be absorbed, vitamin D must also be in the process (Kleiner, RD). Vitamin D helps the kidneys to reabsorb calcium that otherwise would be excreted. According to Archives of Internal Medicine, menopausal women with the highest intakes of vitamin D and calcium and a 30% lower risk of breast cancer.
Pairs to try: Scrambled eggs (vitamin D) topped with low-fat cheese (calcium), Shrimp or Cod (vitamin D) tossed with Kale or Broccoli (calcium)
Fat & Carotenoids: According to Ohio State University, studies show that adding a healthy fat, such as olive oil, to your salad can increase how many cancer-fighting, heart-protective antioxidant carotenoids, such as lutein, lycopene and beta-carotene your body absorbs.
Pairs to try: Scrambled eggs (lutein) with avocado (fat), Dark green salad (lutein, beta-carotene) topped with nuts (fat), Oatmeal mixed with ground flaxseed (fat) and diced apricots (lycopene), Sliced tomato (lypocene) drizzled with olive oil (fat)