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These Smart Food Combinations Help Maximize Nutrition

August 29, 2019

Bella and Edward, Harry and Sally, Romeo and Juliet—some things just go together.

The same is true for foods. Though you already make sure to eat your vegetables and incorporate plenty of protein and healthy fats, how you combine certain nutrients can affect how much you get from them.

“Perfect pairs do exist, especially in nutrition,” says Eliza Savage, a registered dietician at Middleberg Nutrition in New York City. “Combining certain foods may increase nutrient absorption and improve the bioavailability of key nutrients. These complementary foods do double duty—they help you maximize your nutrition and pump up the flavor of your food.”

Here are some combos that Savage recommends:

    1. Vitamins A, E, D and K + healthy fatHealthy fatsThese vitamins are fat soluble, so you need to eat them with fat for best absorption.
      Try it: Cook vegetables in a healthy fat, such as avocado oil or grass-fed butter. Prefer them raw? Toss them with an olive oil-based dressing
    2. Vitamin D + calciumSpinach and salmonYou know calcium is important for bone health (and may have other benefits as well), but it can only do its job with vitamin D there to help it.
      Try it: Have calcium-rich dark leafy greens like spinach or kale with foods containing vitamin D, such as wild-caught salmon or sardines
    3. Collagen + vitamin CCollagen and vitamin C smoothieCollagen is super-trendy right now, and with good reason—it’s good for skin, hair, nails, joints, gut health and more. Taking it with vitamin C helps your body convert it into a useable protein.
      Try it: Add vitamin C-rich berries and collagen powder to your smoothies
    4. Turmeric + black pepperGolden milk in a glassAnother ingredient enjoying a lot of love at the moment is turmeric, thanks to its anti-inflammatory superpowers. Turns out a compound in black pepper, piperine, makes curcumin, the active component in turmeric, far more bioavailable.
      Try it: Grind a bit of black pepper into your golden milk


Originally published March 2018.

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