There’s nothing like a delicious food combination. Some foods complement each other like they were made to be eaten that way. It turns out there are real reasons to combine food other than just being a delicious treat — combining certain foods increases the absorption of essential nutrients and their effectiveness. Here are six food combinations to boost nutrient absorption this winter.
1. Salmon And Roasted Squash
This food combination works since it is full of fat-soluble vitamins and fat. Vitamins A, D, E and K store in your body’s fatty tissue and rely on fat from foods to be absorbed.
You’ll want to choose healthy unsaturated fats over options like butter which can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and unhealthy cholesterol levels. The best options to go for are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
When you pair salmon — which is full of healthy fats — with squash — which has fat-soluble vitamins — you receive the benefits of better vitamin absorption and cardiovascular health. If salmon and squash aren’t your things, you can try other pairings like an avocado kale salad, tofu or whatever fat-soluble vitamin and fat foods you enjoy.
2. Oatmeal And Eggs
Animal protein and zinc are a perfect pairing. Although the body only needs small amounts of zinc, this mineral is vital for immune function.
You can pair it with animal protein to improve absorption from whole grains like oatmeal. This binds with phytate and allows optimal absorption. You can combine animal protein with zinc from other plant sources, like mushrooms and kale. Fish and poultry are the best sources to choose from.
3. Broccoli And Tuna
Calcium is essential for bone health and you can get it from broccoli. Pairing it with tuna is excellent since it has vitamin D, which assists in calcium absorption. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and can be stored and used when you eat calcium-rich foods throughout the day.
Not only does vitamin D help calcium intake, but it has other significant benefits. Winter time is often when seasonal depression is at its peak because many people don’t get enough sunlight exposure. Ensure you eat vitamin D to manage your mental health through your nutrition intake.
4. Chicken And Rice
Sometimes absorption needs time. In this case, carbohydrates and protein are a classic combination to make sure you’re satiated and have energy. Carbohydrates break down into glucose — your body’s energy source of choice and tend to digest faster to provide power for the time being. On the other hand, protein breaks down at a much slower rate.
Eating these nutrients simultaneously allows a balance to stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full for longer. This is important to keep your energy balanced and benefits recovery post-workout. During the winter, it can be challenging to keep your energy up when the sun sets faster and the weather is cooler.
5. Bell Peppers And Hummus
Pair vitamin-C-rich foods with plant-based iron for enhanced absorption. Vitamin C is the most common vitamin to help fight colds and flus. Meanwhile, iron is in plant foods like beans, lentils, nuts and spinach and is necessary to regulate hormones and carry oxygen to your blood.
Vegetables are known to boost your health in general but are also great for assisting the absorption of other nutrients. You can get non-heme iron from other sources like beef and seafood if you don’t prefer a plant-based option.
6. Lemon Juice And Tea
Catechins are the antioxidants in tea that make it taste so good. These also help reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis and cancer. If you aren’t pairing them with a vitamin C source, they will break down and lead to poor absorption.
Vitamin C from the lemon juice acidifies the intestine’s environment, which prevents catechins from breaking down. To optimize the absorption from your tea, be sure to add in some lemon juice — which can add extra flavor, too.
Indulge In Food Combinations
Although you may have your own unique food combinations, try these the next time you want to enhance your nutrient absorption. After all, it is winter, so you’ll want to be sure you get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.