Boost Nutrition With These Food Pairings

From blueberries teamed with walnuts to eggs mingling with cheese, try these 21 food duos that bring out the nutritional best in each other, a science known as “food synergy.”

| March 21, 2012

The following is an excerpt from The Happiness Diet by Tyler Graham and Drew Ramsey, M.D. (Rodale, 2011). We know industrial food makes us unhealthy, but new research has revealed it’s also making us unhappy. In this lively, accessible book, you’ll learn how food plays a vital role in brain function and how you can improve your mental and emotional well-being by tweaking what’s on your plate. Peppered throughout are the authors’ Top 100 Reasons to Avoid Processed Foods — did you know many artificial food colorings are synthesized from coal tar, or that Big Tobacco owns Kraft, Nabisco and a number of other popular processed food brands? This excerpt is from Chapter 3, “Bad Food, Bad Mood.” 

(We’ve included links to recipes that contain some of the following healthful food pairings. Bon appétit! — MOTHER) 

Many of the dishes humans have eaten for generations — such as rice and beans, or tomatoes drizzled with olive oil — have withstood the test of time not simply because the ingredients taste delicious together. Health experts believe we enjoy these food combinations because they’re more nutritious together than they are on their own. The concept is called “food synergy,” and it explains how two foods can be greater than the sum of their parts. Here are a few of the most powerful food synergies currently known to science.

Eggs and Cheese

The vitamin D found in egg yolks makes the calcium in dairy more available to your body — important not only for bones, but for heart health as well.

Rosemary and Steak

Marinate your steak with rosemary before cooking: The herb is rich in antioxidants such as rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid that help neutralize carcinogenic compounds known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form when steak reaches a temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Tomatoes and Olive Oil

Cancer- and heart disease-fighting compounds called carotenoids (the most well known of which is lycopene) are found in abundance in tomatoes. They’re fat-soluble and, as such, they’re more available to your body when you eat them with fats such as olive oil or mozzarella cheese.

1/12/2015 2:25:44 PM

I've read Weston Price's old book of his travels, and some tracts from the foundation-- quite different from his work. I've also read Mercola's essays, one today. Both sources are unreliable at best, often inconsistent, and don't seem to learn from others' data-- so it's not surprising if Mother doesn't follow either. Try for an attempt to digest the great volume of studies done each year, without associated product sales or best-sellers' notions getting in the way of facts. For what it's worth, Kaiser Hospitals put out a diet booklet with their suggestions for members, and at the end list online sources of good info, including the above.

1/12/2015 8:09:20 AM

Thanks for the post. Sounds delicious! I will get the book.

earth mama
8/27/2012 8:17:48 PM

I like this! But it does rather annoy me that motherearthnews is still on the bandwagon of: High cholesterol is bad, causes heart disease, and whole grain bread is so good for you. Doesnt anyone read on ? Or ?

mother earth news fair


Feb. 17-18, 2018
Belton, Texas

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, hands-on workshops, and great food!