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7 Unexpected But Healthy Food Pairings You Should Try

 Having a rich diet is important. Some food combinations complement each other not only in taste but also in how efficiently your body absorbs the nutrients from them. This applies to what you would consider snack foods too. As small as those in-between meals may seem, they are far from being insignificant, and you want to make them as nutritious as possible. 

While foods like berries and walnuts are great on their own, they could be even healthier with a little teamwork. In the list below, we rounded up 7 unexpected food pairings recommended by nutritionists. These creative combinations can come in handy when planning your main meals, as well as your pick-me-up snacks!

1. Strawberries and peanut butter

Food Pairings That Are Healthier When Combined Strawberries and peanut butter

Strawberries are a known source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells from damage caused by free radicals. Peanut butter, on the other hand, is rich in Vitamin E, which helps keep your skin and eyes healthy. It also strengthens the immune system and may help prevent macular degeneration.

Vitamin C boosts the power of Vitamin E, keeping it in a form that helps your body absorb it better. Pairing foods that contain both of these vitamins, like strawberries and peanuts or peanut butter, is highly recommended by nutrition experts. You could mix them in a smoothie or try making strawberries dipped in peanut butter. 

2. Broccoli and mustardFood Pairings That Are Healthier When Combined Broccoli and mustard

Broccoli is a great addition to any meal. It’s rich in vitamin K and calcium - two vital nutrients for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Another beneficial compound found in broccoli is sulforaphane, which was shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Unfortunately, cooking the greens destroys myrosinase, the enzyme that makes sulforaphane available to your body. 

To replace myrosinase, combine broccoli with mustard or another raw cruciferous vegetable, like kale or arugula. The extra myrosinase helps your body absorb more sulforaphane, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Related: Foods You Should Pair Together

3. Coffee with sugarFood Pairings That Are Healthier When Combined, Coffee with sugar

We have good news for those who take their coffee with sugar: it’s not such a bad habit. On the contrary, according to a study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, taking your coffee with sugar actually makes you more productive.

When participants consumed coffee and sugar together, the areas of the brain associated with attention functioned more efficiently compared to sugarless coffee. If you prefer tea, pair it with a little bit of honey. 

Related: Tea vs. Coffee: Which One’s Better For Your Health?

4. Apples and green teaFood Pairings That Are Healthier When Combined Apples and green tea

A cup of tea and sliced fruit make for the perfect afternoon snack. One very healthy pairing you could make is green tea and apples. Apples contain the phytochemical quercetin, while green tea is rich in catechin - two powerful anti-oxidants.

When paired together, these compounds were found to efficiently prevent blood platelets from clumping together. When platelets clump, it can contribute to the formation of blood clots, which could potentially lead to a heart attack.

5. Avocado and carrots

Food Pairings That Are Healthier When Combined Avocado and carrots

You have probably heard about the vital health benefits of carrots, namely that they support eye-health. What gives carrots this power is beta-carotene, a nutrient that the body readily converts into vitamin A. What you may not know is that your body needs fat to absorb beta-carotene.

Pairing carrots with avocados or even olive oil will help your body make the most of the nutrients in carrots. An example of a simple snack is carrots dipped in guacamole or hummus. 

Related: Curb A Salt Craving With These 12 Healthy Snacks!

6. Cottage cheese and blueberriesFood Pairings That Are Healthier When Combined Cottage cheese and blueberries

If you’re looking for a snack that will keep you satiated until your next meal and prevent more unnecessary snacking, try mixing a handful of blueberries with some cottage cheese. The latter is rich in casein, a slow-digesting protein that contains all the essential amino acids your body needs, whereas the fruit is high in fiber. This combination is both nutritious and filling. 

7. Walnuts and spinachFood Pairings That Are Healthier When Combined Walnuts and spinach

Spinach can do great things on its own thanks to its vitamin K content, which contributes to cell growth, blood circulation, and bone strength. When walnuts enter the scene, however, their omega-3 fatty acids boost the vitamin’s absorption, which, in turn, boosts all the aforementioned benefits. If you don’t do so already, consider adding spinach to your salad and sprinkle some walnuts on top for optimal results. 

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