Apart from wanting your meals to taste good, there’s evidence that combining certain foods can have increased nutritional benefits. Why? It all comes down to body chemistry. Particular foods contain specific vitamins and minerals, and the body occasionally needs help to absorb them to their fullest extent.
Follow these guidelines for the foods you should pair together to get the maximum nutritional benefits.
Spinach + Sweet Potatoes
Apart from being delicious, sweet potatoes are also super healthy, and extremely high in Vitamin A. In order to get into the bloodstream, however, your body needs a little help from zinc. Enter spinach, a food high in zinc that can help your body better absorb the vitamins from your sweet potatoes. This is an easy one, too—toss roasted sweet potato chunks onto a spinach salad or serve sautéed spinach alongside a roasted sweet potato for two healthy sides at dinner.
Soybeans + Tuna
Yes, we’re basically telling you to go out for sushi. Why? Because you absorb calcium a lot better when you are also getting an adequate supply of Vitamin D…and we don’t mean laying out to get a tan. Soybeans (along with traditional sources of calcium like milk and cheese) are the perfect accompaniment to raw or seared fish that’s high in Vitamin D like tuna, mackerel and salmon. So next time you get poke, you’re basically eating health food.
Kale + Eggs
Fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K need—you guessed it—fat in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Dark, leafy greens like collards, turnip greens and kale are the best way to get your Vitamin K, a crucial nutrient that promotes bone health and blood clotting. Mellow sautéed bitter greens with a yolky poached egg, or just go for traditional collards with bacon. We won’t tell.
Turmeric + Black Pepper
Yes, all that turmeric hype is legitimate. This golden spice has a ton of healthful properties, including the prevention and treatment of nerve, cardiovascular, heart, metabolic and autoimmune diseases. But how on earth is turmeric so healthy? It’s all because of the compound circumin, which is what gives turmeric its gorgeous, golden-yellow color. But circumin is not the most bioavailable compound, meaning it’s hard for your body to access the health properties when it’s ingested solo. Enter black pepper. This common spice contains piperine, a compound that helps increase the bioavailability of turmeric so you get the health benefits you need.