5 Power Food Pairings That Boost Nutrition

Canva Design DAFG-8-paaoGet the most out of your meal with food synergy. Certain foods are even more nutritious together. This happens when nutrients are complementary to one another, or when the components of one food can help us absorb the goodness of another. To get the most out of your meal, try these delicious, powerful food pairings.

1. Vitamin A + Healthy Fats


Why you should pair them: Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s more readily absorbed when eaten with fat. For example, when you eat raw veggies, your body absorbs only about five to ten percent of the vitamin A, but pair your veggies with oil and you can absorb as much as 50 percent of the vitamin A!

Benefits: Vitamin A keeps skin, eyes and the immune system in tip-top shape. Healthy fats keep you full after a meal and boost vitamin A absorption.

Foods to eat together:

  • Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes
  • Healthy fats: salmon, avocados, olive oil

Try Sweet Potato Fritters with Grilled Salmon.

2. Vitamin D + Calcium

Why you should pair them: Vitamin D helps you absorb more calcium from food.

Benefits: Calcium is critical for building and maintaining strong bones, which is important for healthy aging. Vitamin D plays a big role in keeping your immune system strong, too.

Foods to eat together:

  • Calcium: milk, cheese, tofu, leafy greens
  • Vitamin D: salmon, tuna, mushrooms, egg yolks

Fun Fact:  Vitamin D is the “sunshine” vitamin since your skin can make it with adequate exposure to sunlight!

Try it out this pairing in this Black Bean Mushroom Quesadilla.

3. Iron + Vitamin C

Why you should pair them: Vitamin C makes plant-based iron easier to absorb.

Benefits: Iron is essential for making new red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. Oxygen powers all bodily functions. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that protects cells from damage.

Foods to eat together:

  • Iron: kale, chard, spinach, lentils
  • Vitamin C: lemons, limes, tomatoes, bell peppers

Try this Caesar-inspired Kale Salad.

4. Vitamin E + Omega-3 Fats

Why you should pair them: Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects omega-3 fats from damage.

Benefits: Omega-3 fats boost heart health by reducing inflammation. They are also essential for making and maintaining new brain cells.

Foods to eat together:

  • Vitamin E: almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, sunflower oil, safflower oil
  • Omega-3 fats: chia seeds, walnuts, tofu, salmon, tuna, trout, sardines

Fun Fact: Omega-3 fat are an “essential” fat because our bodies can’t make them. They need to come from food.

Try Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad.

5. Protein + Carbohydrates

Why you should pair them: Together, these nutrients help speed athletic recovery and improve performance.

Benefits: Protein helps muscles rebuild and carbohydrate helps muscle refuel. Eat these nutrients together within 15 minutes to an hour after a tough workout to speed recovery.4

Foods to eat together:

  • Protein: boiled eggs, peanut butter, tuna, Greek yogurt
  • Carbohydrate: whole-wheat bread, crackers, oats

Try a Quick Canned Tuna Salad on wheat bread.

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