10 Food Pairings that Work Better Together


As I was prepping for a radio segment on Lisa Live, I realized that the very topic I was speaking about was something I was doing right that very minute by drinking my tea with lemon! It’s called food synergy — combining certain foods to boost nutrient absorption.

Simply stated, some foods are just better together.

Now I must preface this by saying I don’t want you to get stressed out the next time you eat worrying that you are not combining foods synergistically! Remember that most combinations of foods naturally go together so it is common sense and you are probably already doing this!

Here are 10 examples of food synergy:

  • Roasted, steamed or sauteed Brussels sprouts with olive oil or goat cheese. Be sure to add the fat after you cook. The lutein (good for your peepers) in Brussels sprouts (and many other green foods ie. kale) are better absorbed in the presence of fat.
  • Grapefruit or tomato with avocado. The lycopene (prevents cancer) in grapefruit and tomato is more readily absorbed in the intestines in the presence of healthy fats. Add some tomato chunks to your gauc or slice up that grapefruit and toss it in a salad with some avocado on the side. Try this guac salad.
  • Leafy greens with garbanzo beans (chick peas). Leafy greens such as spinach contain magnesium (nature’s chill pill) and when combined with B6 rich chick peas, that magnesium is better absorbed. Pistachios are also a good source of B6, so sprinkling a few on your salad will amplify that food synergy
  • My favourite: Fresh lemon juice with green tea. I love my green tea and always add at least 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice. All citrus is a good source of vitamin C which enhances the effectiveness of antioxidant anti-cancer catechins. The C basically protects them from being destroyed in the gut before absorption.
  • Greens powder such as the one I use, Greens+O combined in a smoothie with a flavoured omega 3 oil. Those good fats help you better absorb many of the phytonutrients in the greens powder. Check Lisa Live’s facebook page because she’s posting my Creamsicle Smoothie recipe and soon you will be able to watch a joyous recipe video of how to make this smoothie! I will post it as soon as it’s ready.
  • Spinach (or any leafy green) with a homemade citrus-based salad dressing that has citrus as an ingredient. Citrus such as lemon, grapefruit, lime or orange is a source of vitamin C which helps you better absorb iron. Try this kale orange salad recipe.
  • Salmon and a glass of pinot noir (red wine). The polyphenols in red wine help you absorb those amazing omega 3s in the salmon.
  • Turmeric with black pepper. Turmeric has an active component called “curcumin” which has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. The pepper helps the body absorb 1000 times the curcumin. Sprinkle both on your sauteed veggies! Try this quinoa lentil loaf recipe.
  • Eggs with goat cheese. I see an omelette in your future! The vitamin D in the eggs helps you better absorb the calcium in the goat cheese. Both nutrients are important for bone health. Try this kale egg scramble recipe and add some goat cheese!
  • Steamed or roasted carrots with chicken, meat or fish. The vitamin A (skin and immune system) in carrots is better absorbed when combined with protein.


What are your favourite food pairings? Please share below!

Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more...

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