Everyone knows that a bowl of broccoli is far healthier for you than a bowl of ice cream, although the latter being much tastier. Vegetables contain crucial vitamins and minerals meant to support a healthy body and immune system. You may think that eating that bowl of broccoli is as healthy as it can get, but it can become even more so! Vegetable pairing is popular, as the vitamins and minerals work together to become even more effective in absorbing in your body for optimal health.
Think of it like this. There are pairs that everyone knows: Salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, peppers and onions. Like these combinations, vegetable pairings work in synergy to maximize one another in bringing out each other’s vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They bring out the best in each other, in other words. Try out these combinations below to get an idea of what kind of vegetables you can mix for optimal absorption for your best overall health.
- Vitamins A, D, E and K with healthy fats – These vitamins are found in foods such as a hearty salad, carrots, sweet potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. When they are paired with healthy fats such as oil-based dressing, nuts or seeds, avocado, hummus or guacamole, they help to strengthen the absorption rate of vitamins provided. You might be doing this without realizing it when you had a healthy scoop of avocado on top of your salad! This gives you a great reason to enjoy this creamy, green fat.
- Spinach and bell peppers – Iron is found heavily in spinach. When it is eaten with bell peppers (or strawberries, broccoli and citrus fruits) that contain Vitamin C, it assists in energizing the iron that can be found within the spinach. Adding these ingredients to a smoothie is a great way to squeeze in some extra vitamins and minerals.
- Dark leafy greens and salmon – Kale, arugula, swiss chard, basil and parsley are all dark leafy greens that are well known in the health community for being extremely beneficial for your health. They are particularly also known as bone-strengthening minerals, high in calcium. While they have the reputation, kale especially, for being a super food, they do not absorb that well within the body without the aid of vitamin D. You can pair these vegetables with a juicy piece of salmon, egg yolks or crimini mushrooms to optimize the absorption of these dark leafy greens to increase the absorption of their rich vitamins and minerals.
- Green tea and lemon – Anti aging, brain boosting, and heart healthy antioxidants called catechins are jam packed in green tea! When drinking a hot glass, squeeze some lemon that is rich in vitamin C, and you’ll be boosting the bioavailability of these compounds. You can also try a smoothie, that includes ingredients such as pear, lemon, spinach and green tea matcha. This will give you a little sweetness to go with your catechins if you don’t like the idea of drinking a regular cup of hot tea!
- Carbs and protein – Everyone’s favorite combo! When you eat carbs, they are broken down into glucose. The glucose increases your blood sugar, and if it is done too fast over enough time, it can cause insulin resistance and high blood glucose levels, which increases the risk of developing diabetes. When eating protein along with a carb, it breaks everything down at a slower rate. This helps stabilize the blood sugar levels so that not all the sugar is hitting your blood stream at once. Carbs and proteins balance each other out and are a good idea to consume after a workout to replenish your vitamin and mineral levels.
Ensuring these foods are paired together will help you consistently optimize the level of absorption of these vitamins and minerals to benefit the most from eating them. These pairings are not something that everyone knows about but are crucial to create a healthy body and mind.
Besides, who wants to eat a bunch of plain kale if you aren’t receiving their full benefits?