Power Food Pairings Increase Nutritional Value

Women’s Health has released a list of 9 Power Food Pairings – combinations of food items that give you more nutritional value when eaten together. Even better, they seem like pretty easy combinations to work into your diet. Check out Women’s Health for the full list and read my favorites below.

That time of the month may have you reaching for less nutritious foods, but research shows less pre-menstrual irritability in women who ingest the most calcium and vitamin D. Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D, and broccoli provides easily-absorbed calcium. I tend to crave a little fat, so a broccoli and cheese omelet sounds ideal to me.

For more energy, one needs more iron. Although chickpeas are packed with iron, your body cannot absorb it all without vitamin C, plenty of which you can find in red peppers. Try alternating slices of red pepper with pita when eating hummus or add red pepper to tabouli, one of my favorite fresh and healthy recipes.

Forget the creams and potions. Keep your skin looking as young as possible with Italian foods. Lycopene is an antioxidant primarily found in tomatoes that can prevent sun damage. Research also shows that those who eat more olive oil are less likely to have wrinkles. Caprese salad, bruschetta… mix tomatoes and olive oil together whenever you can.

Probiotics and yogurt have become fairly well known for improving digestion. Give probiotics more power by feeding them (they are bacteria, remember) prebiotics like those found in flaxseed. If the probiotic yogurt alone isn’t improving your digestion enough, add some flaxseed to each cup.

Oatmeal is both heart-warming and heart-healthy. It contains both beta-glucan and avenanthramides. Beta-glucan is a fiber that lowers cholesterol and avenanthramides protect from free radicals. Apples contain flavanoids which are anti-oxidants that get rid of free radicals and reduce inflammation. Combining apples and oatmeal will protect your heart.

Carrots may be packed with vitamin A, but spinach has vitamin A and lutein, both of which can help protect your vision. To get the best use out of both of these nutrients, you need some fat in your diet. Avocado provides both a healthy fat and additional lutein. Put off bifocals as long as possible by making an avocado dressing for spinach salad.

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