Thursday, March 17, 2011

Food Pairs: Healthier Results

Did you know that some foods, when eaten together, are more nutritious? Here are a few food combinations that also taste great:

1. Rice and beans
The combination of aminoacids results in a richer protein value.

2. Whole grains and garlic or onions:
A study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that combining garlic and/or onions with whole grains may help boost the absorption of iron and zinc—minerals that are absorbed less easily from plant sources than animal sources. Researchers don’t know exactly how, but speculate that sulfur compounds in onions and garlic are what help to promote absorption. (They’re also what cause garlic breath.)

3. Beans and greens
When you eat beans and greens together, the vitamin C in the greens helps turn the iron in the beans into a form your body can more easily absorb.

4. Tomato and olive oil.
Adding fat, such as oil, to fruits and vegetables can help you better absorb some of their healthy phytonutrients. A recent study in Free Radical Biology and Medicine found that people who ate several servings of tomato products paired with either sunflower oil or olive oil upped their lycopene levels by the end of a week. (Lycopene is a compound that gives tomatoes, red peppers and watermelons their red color and has been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer, heart disease and lung disease.) But olive oil may be a healthier pick. Compared to the group that ate sunflower oil, those who got olive oil had higher antioxidant levels.

Sources include and

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