Two is better than one
Laurel and Hardy, Thelma and Louise, Brad and Angelina. Some pairs are just meant to be (although the Brangelina pairing may be up for debate). Various nutrients go well together, too. ?As a registered dietitian, I know combining certain foods can up their nutritional value, and help your body absorb and utilize all of their benefits more effectively. And research is revealing new pairings all the time. “It’s like adding 1 plus 1 and getting 4 instead of 2,” says Elaine Magee, a registered dietitian and the author of Food Synergy. “The total is greater than the sum of the individual parts.” Want to get more nutritional bang from your meals? Try out these 10 power-food combinations.
Beans and tomatoes
Dynamic duo because: Combined, they help boost your iron intake for better brain and muscle function.
Our bodies absorb up to 33 percent less non-heme iron (found in plant foods such as beans, edamame, leafy greens and fortified cereals) than heme iron (found in animal-based foods such as beef, fish and chicken). “You can significantly increase your absorption of non-heme iron by consuming it with a source of vitamin C, including oranges, tomatoes and berries,” says Magee. Vitamin C helps change non-heme iron to a form that is more easily absorbed by our bodies. Iron is necessary for producing hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to muscles and the brain. Low levels of iron can lead to fatigue, weakness and poor concentration.
Try this: For a quick salad, mix iron-loaded beans such ?as kidney and edamame with vitamin C-packed tomatoes, chopped red bell peppers and steamed broccoli.
Green tea and lemon juice
Dynamic duo because: Consumed together they help you get more from antioxidants.
Catechins, found in green tea, are powerful antioxidants. And a 2006 study of more than 40,000 Japanese adults found that those who enjoyed at least one cup of green tea daily were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who didn’t. According to a separate 2007 Purdue ?University report, adding a splash of citrus juice from a lemon, lime or grapefruit to green tea reduces the breakdown of its catechins in our digestive system, making them even more readily absorbed by the body.
Try this: For a refreshingly healthy twist on iced tea, squeeze the juice from one lemon into 2 cups (500 mL) of brewed green tea. Chill, then add 1 cup (250 mL) of club soda and some fresh mint. Makes half a pitcher.