Did you know that pairing different foods together could help increase the amount to nutrition you get from foods? Not to mention increase the taste! Here are simple ways of getting more of these necessary nutrients.
Iron and vitamin C
There are two types of iron: haem iron and non-haem iron. Haem iron is found in animal product such as red meat, shellfish, poultry and fish, and is easily absorbed by the body. Non-haem iron is found in pulses, tofu, oats, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, egg yolks, dark green leafy vegetables and fortified breakfast cereals. Non-haem iron is not as readily absorbed by the body, which can cause issues for vegetarians.
Vitamin C binds with iron, forming a complex, which is more soluble. This allows the body to absorb the iron and put it to good use. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and juices, bell peppers, kiwis, tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
Try having fruit or fruit juice with your breakfast cereal to increase your iron absorption, or try these recipes: Sauteed kale with sweet potato, sun dried tomato and spinach cakes, lentil and roast pepper soup or blueberry tofu smoothie.
Fats and antioxidants
Many well-known cancer-preventing antioxidants are fat soluble, such as lycopene, beta-carotene and leutin. These antioxidants are contained in brightly colored fruits and vegetables- think carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes and much more. Try eating these foods with sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, cheeses and oil-based dressings to increase nutrient absorption. Why not try watermelon feta salad, shredded carrot pesto slaw, or tomato, raisin and pine nut Bruschetta.
Turmeric and black pepper
We love adding turmeric to dishes, both for it’s flavor and its nutritional benefits. Turmeric is high in the compound curcumin, which has been shown to have promising anticancer effects in animal and laboratory studies. Absorbing curcumin can be difficult, however one study found that combining curcumin with a small about of black pepper increased absorption by 2000%! Try adding a pinch of pepper to our spiced cauliflower or spicy eggplant stew to reap the benefits.
Citrus and Green Tea
Teas contain compounds called catechins which are antioxidants that may be ay be responsible for some of green tea’s reported health benefits, like reduced risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke. Catechins depend on an acidic environment to be absorbed, and some preliminary research has shown that adding fruit juice lemon juice to tea may stop the loss of catechins- try adding a squeeze to your next cup.