Pairing Your Foods To Get More Nutrition

pairing foods

Did you know that pairing different foods together can help increase the amount of nutrition you get from foods? Here are simple ways of getting more of these necessary nutrients.

 Iron and Vitamin C

There are two types of iron: heme iron and nonheme iron. Heme iron comes from hemoglobin and myoglobin, it is easily absorbed by the body, and mostly comes from animal products such as meat, fish, and poultry. Non- heme iron is found primarily in plant foods such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains, and tofu. Nonheme iron is not as readily absorbed by the body. In addition to iron found naturally in foods, some foods have iron added to them, commercially known as “fortified foods.” Common foods that have been fortified with iron are breads, pasta, cereals, and some types of flour.

Some dietary factors have been shown to enhance the absorption of nonheme iron from foods. These include sugar, and ascorbic acid (also known as vitamin C). Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and juices, bell peppers, kiwis, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

There are so many easy recipes to help with iron absorption, like this  Sauteed Kale with Sweet PotatoSun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Cakes, and Blueberry Tofu Smoothie.

 Fat-Soluble Antioxidants

Many well-known cancer-preventing antioxidants are fat-soluble, such as lycopene, beta-carotene, and lutein. These antioxidants are contained in brightly colored fruits and vegetables – think carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes, and much more. It is important to note that not all antioxidants are fat-soluble.

Try eating these foods with sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, cheeses, and oil-based dressings to increase nutrient absorption. It is important to note that not all antioxidants are fat-soluble.

 Turmeric and Black Pepper

Adding turmeric to dishes is great for both its flavor and its nutritional benefits. Turmeric is high in the compound curcumin, which can be difficult for the body to absorb. However, one study found that combining curcumin with a small about of black pepper increased the absorption of turmeric.

Try adding a pinch of pepper to our Spiced Cauliflower or Spicy Eggplant Stew to reap the benefits of turmeric.

Registered Dietitian Approved

There are many misconceptions about nutrition and cancer in widespread media. By using current scientific literature, plus recommendations of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society, our Registered Dietitian, Kate Ueland, MS, RD, and our team of editors work to help our readers discern truth from myth.

The statements on this blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Always consult your physician or registered dietitian for specific medical advice.


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