Better Together: Power Food Combinations by Toby Amidor in Healthy Tips, May 17, 2011
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Some foods just taste great together, like milk and cookies. But others pairs actually work together to help your body get the most nutrition bang for its buck. Here are 5 of the most powerful food combos.
Combo #1: Rice and Beans
Both these foods alone are healthy choices. But if you’re trying to get in all your protein without eating meat, beef, or chicken, a serving of rice and beans can do the trick! A complete protein is one that contains all the amino acids your body needs – an egg is considered the most perfect protein around. The amino acids found in rice complements those found in beans, making it a high-quality protein when eaten together.
RECIPE: Lighter Rice and Beans
Combo #2: Leafy Greens and Tomatoes
Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collards contain iron. But it’s tough to absorb the iron from these plants without the assistance of vitamin C. Combine fresh or sautéed leafy greens with tomatoes, a splash or lemon juice or slices of strawberries.
RECIPE: Mixed Greens with Tomato-Ginger Dressing
Combo #3: Egg and Cheese
Calcium and vitamin D work in synergy to help promote healthy bones. A glass of milk will give you both, but so can an egg and cheese sandwich, frittata or omelet. Egg yolks contain vitamin D and you’ll find calcium in the cheese.
RECIPE: Eggs in a Basket or Mini Spinach, Bacon and Cheese Frittatas (pictured above)
Combo #4: Oatmeal and Water
Looking to up your fiber? Oatmeal cookies and a warm bowl of oatmeal can foot the bill, but be sure to drink plenty of water. The oats need to absorb water in order to work properly and provide their many benefits. The fiber found in oatmeal has been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels and to help keep you full longer.
RECIPE: Steel Cut Oatmeal
Combo #5: Tomatoes and Olive Oil
The antioxidant lycopene helps promote a healthy heart, could prevent macular generation and may lower the risk of colon cancer. Cooked tomato products like tomato sauce, ketchup, tomato soup, and tomato paste are the best sources of lycopene. Combine it with heart-healthy monounsatured olive oil for maximum absorption.
RECIPE: Quick Tomato Sauce
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »