This amazing post was written by Jenn Ryan, a freelance writer and editor who’s passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. You can read more of her work at thegreenwritingdesk.com
It’s likely that when you eat a meal or even a snack, you’re not really thinking beyond what you have available when it comes to eating certain foods together. And you definitely haven’t heard of trophology, right? Trophology is the nutritional practice of always eating certain foods together or in a certain order to allow for optimal nutrient absorption and pain-free digestion.
This has less to do about taste and more to do with your body absorbing nutrients. Although it may be argued that these food pairings taste even better together!
Why should you eat certain foods together, and which pairs make the list?
Why Combining Foods Matters
If you eat foods that shouldn’t be paired together, you can actually experience gastrointestinal problems. You’re also cheating your body out of nutrients from these foods! People have been using this practice for centuries in order to help their bodies have a better relationship with food.
Food pairing prevents our bodies from becoming confused as a result of all the different types of foods we’re eating and therefore cause toxic byproducts of our faulty digestion that can not only make us feel sick, but also harm our bodies. Breaking food down into a few groups can help us to determine what should be eaten together:
- Proteins: These include nuts, diary, meats, eggs, and beans.
- Carbohydrates: These include starches, fruits, and sugars.
- Fruits: Sweet fruits.
- Fats: Both vegetable (think coconut oil) and animal (think bacon grease).
- Vegetables: Both starchy and non-starchy.
So, the deal is, you should not combine proteins and carbs (they require different enzymes to digest and your body can easily get confused), always eat fruits by themselves, you should never eat dairy, and don’t eat desserts right after a meal! The rules get a little more complex, but for the purposes of this article, I’m going to provide you with some excellent pairings that’ll make your dietary life a little easier!
Food Combining: The List
Here are some easy and excellent pairings of food that your digestive system will love and you’ll be able to absorb lots of nutrients from! Many of these are simple to combine and require minimal extra thinking and preparing on your part.
Bananas and Yogurt
I know I just said that you should eat fruit by itself, but there are some of these pairings that go well with fruit. The only fruit you should ideally avoid eating with absolutely anything else is melons.
Bananas contain prebiotics and yogurt contains probiotics, so pairing these two together helps your body receive a probiotic punch! Potassium and protein help to nourish your muscles.
It’s best to avoid eating bananas with dairy—actually, it’s best to avoid dairy in general for many people. I’d recommend pairing bananas with almond milk yogurt, soy milk yogurt, or my personal favorite, coconut milk yogurt for the best pairings. These yogurts don’t provide the yucky dairy after effects, but do provide probiotics and deliciousness!
Strawberries and Spinach
Vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron! This is why strawberries (a vitamin C-rich food) and spinach (an iron-rich food) are best paired together. Always choose organic strawberries, as strawberries top the list for produce that contains the most pesticide residues even after washing—yes, even one non-organic strawberry can contain the residues of 17 different pesticides. Scary!
Berries and Oatmeal
Berries provide fiber and vitamin C plus many antioxidants while oatmeal provides iron and B vitamins in addition to fiber to help keep you full! The vitamin C increases iron absorption and the water from the berries can actually help your body to process the fiber. Throw a handful of blueberries or raspberries into your oatmeal every morning with some cinnamon—your taste buds will be singing! Oatmeal even helps to stabilize your blood sugar.
Lemons and Kale
Fresh lemon juice goes great on a variety of greens, again because the vitamin C helps your iron absorption. Lemon is excellent in a kale salad, squeezed onto asparagus just before or after cooking, and even a burst of citrus in your green smoothie can help your digestion! Try lemon with a variety of greens, but one of my favorites is lemon with kale.
Adzuki Beans and Raspberries
Adzuki beans are traditionally used in Japanese dishes, but they’re also available in various forms at your supermarket. Combining adzuki beans with raspberries can actually boost the amount of antioxidants that your body absorbs from these two lovely foods. Want a dazzling recipe? Try these brownies!
Fish and Turmeric
Not only does this combination taste yummy, but it can actually help protect your body against cancer! The turmeric combined with the essential fatty acids in fish can prevent cancer cells from multiplying and potentially halt tumor growth. Moreover, turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, has been very well documented to have brain-health-promoting characteristics, most famously its antioxidant properties. This 2008 scientific analysis summarizes hundreds of studies exploring the mechanisms by which curcumin helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. When combined with fish high in Omega-3’s like salmon, tuna, and halibut, turmeric will pack even more of a punch. Omega-3’s are important for healthy cognition and they help to control inflammation (which is a major factor in brain health in aging).
Rub your tasty fish with turmeric and another spice blend! Always remember to purchase wild-caught fish whenever possible, or go local!
Try these and many other food pairings in order to get rid of your digestive issues, increase absorption of all those lovely nutrients you’re eating, and provide your taste buds with an unsurpassable “wow” factor! Your body will love you for becoming a trophology expert!
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