Health | Nutrition

Biohack your nutrition by pairing these foods together

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

Food pairing is very simply, pairing foods so that the nutrients in each food work synergistically and improve the action and absorption of the other. Here are some examples of how you can make your nutrition work better for you….

VITAMIN C + IRON RICH FOODS:

Iron deficiency is actually one of the most common nutrient deficiencies globally and incredibly common in women and children. 

Aim for teaming iron rich foods such as, legumes like lentils and kidney beans, tofu, nuts and seeds, eggs and greens with vitamin C rich foods – such as citrus fruits to improve iron absorption. A big squeeze of lemon on your lentil salad, or a meat based dish with a capsicum, spinach and tomato salad, having a kiwi fruit with a handful of nuts and seeds. 

Iron rich foods: asian greens, lentils, kidney beans, tofu, eggs, nuts and seeds 

Vitamin C rich foods: citrus fruits, red capsicum, kiwifruit, tomatoes, berries, baby spinach (Tip: garlic and onion also improve iron absorption) 

(If you’re keen to really maximise your dietary iron intake then be sure to check out the IRON RICH MEAL PLANS here…)

CALCIUM + VITAMIN D RICH FOODS:

Vitamin D is critical for calcium absorption and without Vitamin D the body absorbs as little as 10-15% dietary calcium. Calcium most people know is vital for the strength of our teeth and bones.

Team calcium rich foods such as milk, yoghurt, cheese, fortified plant milks and tofu etc plus sesame seeds and other nuts and seeds with vitamin D rich foods like salmon, tuna and swordfish. For example, add some cheese to your omelette with lots of green vegetables; or, if you’re eating fish for dinner enjoy it with a big salad and tahini dressing.

The simplest Vitamin D hack of all however (that’s beneficial in more ways than one) is to head outside to eat your meals. Stop sitting at your desk at lunch, pop out and soak in some rays.

Calcium rich foods: milk, yoghurt, cheese, sesame seeds, goat cheese, tahini, nuts and seeds (generally), dried figs, edamame and fortified soy products

Vitamin D rich foods: salmon, swordfish, tuna, dairy, sardines, beef liver

PREBIOTICS AND PROBIOTICS

Prebiotics are the fuel for the trillions of gut microbes. Probiotics are the live cultures which help diversify the number of different beneficial microbes. Take them together and you have an excellent source of fuel and diversity for your gut health. Our gut health can influence immune and metabolic health as well as neurobehavioral traits which is why it’s so important. 

Some examples could include, overnight soaked oats with yoghurt and grated apple as a bircher; or, including sauerkraut with an asparagus salad as part of your meal with quality protein. 

Prebiotic rich foods – legumes, leeks, garlic, onion, asparagus, barley, oats and apples 

Probiotic rich foods – kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, kombucha, kefir, tempeh

FATS + ANTIOXIDANT CAROTENOIDS

Some antioxidants such as carotenoids which are present in foods like tomatoes, carrots, spinach are lipid soluble compounds so they are best teamed with healthy fats. This is one of the reasons why the mediterranean style diet is so great for cardiovascular health, fertility and longevity because there are so many great antioxidant rich foods with extra virgin olive oil – tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil and pasta.

Antioxidant rich foods : tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot, berries, other fruits and vegetables generally 

Healthy Fats : extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds and avocado