Some food pairs just work:
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Bacon and eggs
- Fries and ketchup
But did you know that there are foods that actually get healthier when they’re paired with the right partner?
We found the 12 best pairs of food that should always be eaten together for maximum benefit.
Check out these food pair matches made in the kitchen of Heaven:
Beef Jerky and Oranges
Our bacon and hot dog shopping has taught us to avoid foods with added nitrates (those nasty little cancer causing buggers). But we forget that most dried meats and our favorite jerkies are also stuffed full of this harmful additive. Luckily, you can protect yourself without having to give up your delicious leather strips of pure protein. Just pair your favorite jerky with an orange (or other Vit C packed food). Vitamin C acts as a barrier to prevent the dangerous nitrates from being absorbed by your gut. Instead, you just excrete them with all the other waste.
Hard Boiled Eggs and Veggies
We all know vegetables are good for us. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals that keep our immune system healthy, skin radiant, and bones strong. But when you pair vegetables with cooked eggs, our bodies absorb 9X more carotenoids—including lycopene and beta-carotene, two antioxidants that may reduce cancer risk, slow down cognitive decline, and prevent heart disease – than eating just plain, eggless veggies. So don’t feel bad adding a hard boiled egg to all your salads from now on.
Tomatoes and Olive Oil
Tomatoes are nature’s cancer fighters. The skin of this fruit (yes, it is a fruit) is packed full of little warriors that protect again cancer, chronic diseases, and even UV rays. To maximize the strength of these warriors, pair tomatoes with a healthy fat like olive oil or avocado. The fat from these food options increase the amount of carotenoids that get absorbed, just like our veggies above. But tomatoes are one of the best sources of a specific vitamin, provitamin A, that not many other veggies can provide. But for even more powerful tomato perks, cook your tomatoes first and then pair when teh healthy fats. A cooked tomato releases 5 times more potent nutrients than eating them raw.
Apples and Chocolate
An apple a day might keep the doctor away but the skin of this fruit is what keeps your body, immune system and skin youthful. To increase the power of this daily medicine, pair it with a food high in catechin (huh??). Catechin is what is inside our dark chocolate, berries and wine that keeps our bodies and skin youthful. But pairing this anti-aging agent with the skin of an apple can greatly improve your cardiovascular health.
Peanuts and Whole Wheat
We always thought peanut butter and jelly were a match made in heaven, but it turns out we were wrong – peanuts are better matched with whole wheat. These foods complement each other completely to form one complete chain of amino acids (the best form of protein). The amino acids are exactly what we need to build and maintain strong muscles. So resort to your inner child and make a peanut butter sandwich for a post workout snack. Just make sure to avoid any peanut butter with added sugars or cartoon characters on the label.
Yogurt and Bananas
Yogurt and other fermented foods are full of good bacteria called probiotics that keep our gut happy and healthy. And because these good bacteria are alive, they need something to eat while they make the journey down to your gut. Foods containing inulin, like bananas, are the best source of energy for our gut saving friends. The banana acts as a pre-biotic and sets up our intestines to enhance the benefit of the probiotic bacteria. The banana also increases the absorption of calcium, making this snack treat a double whammy for gut and bone health.
Calcium and Sunshine
We know, sunshine is not a food. But it still should be consumed daily to increase your bone strength. Most of us take calcium to boost our bone health. The problem is our bodies can’t absorb calcium if we don’t have enough Vitamin D. Ten minutes of sunshine each day gives your body enough Vitamin D to reap the rewards of our favorite calcium rich foods. Cod liver and sardines are also good sources of Vitamin D if you can’t get enough of the natural sun stuff.
Beans and Raw Peppers
Because animal products are the main source of iron in most diets, vegetarians can often lack this essential nutrient. But there are a few plant sources, like beans and spinach that can provide that necessary iron, but because of their differences in molecular structure, it can be hard for the body to absorb. However, if you pair beans or spinach with something high in Vitamin C, like bell peppers or citrus fruit, you can increase the ability of your body to absorb the iron, helping ensure you get enough into your daily meals.
Herbs, Olive Oil, and Beef
When grilling hamburgers or steaks, the high temperatures and charring of the meat can release cancer-causing agents called HCAs. Who knew, right? But you don’t have to jump ship to pescaratiansim just yet. Adding fresh herbs and olive oil to the beef actually neutralizes the carcinogenic compounds and keeps our meats safe to eat. So next time you’re grilling out, make sure to add some fresh rosemary and a little olive oil to your steaks.
Blueberries and Walnuts
These two superfoods come together to be one of the smartest snack choices. We are serious about the smart part. When paired together, researchers found these foods actually improve memory, sharpen neurological connections, and prevent cognitive decline.
Green Tea and Lemon
Going green has endless benefits including reducing allergies, improving immune function, preventing cataracts, and protecting our gums. Green tea loves an acidic stomach so pair your next cup of tea with lemon juice to increase the ability for your body to take in all the perks of this caffeinated health beverage.
Bread and Vinegar
When breads and pastas are consumed, the glucose in our blood surges up and then crashes quick. This sugar spike then causes us to feel hungry very soon after we just stuffed ourselves from the never-ending basket of breadsticks. But vinegar can help prevent the dramatic shift in sugar levels, keeping that full feeling and preventing excessive over eating. Next time you have the option, dip that slice of warm wonderfulness in an oil and vinegar mixture (or if you’re brave, take a straight spoonful of apple cider vinegar just before you’re about to carb load). Just make sure to moderate your carb intake because although that vinegar helps, it’s not a miracle worker.
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