As you guys know, I work as a dietitian by day. Yesterday, I received a call from a woman who thought that “healthy eating ” was all about what she couldn’t eat anymore. She went on and on about how hard it was for her to eat smaller portions and how challenging it is to know what the calories are on everything you eat. In a sense, she tried to boil everything down to a math equation!
So here is one tip I gave her and thought I would share with you too.
Healthy eating isn’t just about math: subtracting fat, counting calories, and dividing portions. It’s also about the little things we toss on our plates that often yield the biggest benefits. I call this “food synergy”, that is; pairing one food to another to boost nutrient intake and your health.
Remember, food is like medicine with benefits ranging from stronger bones and better eyesight to a healthier heart and improved immunity. In fact, there are some really easy food pairings that can really impact your health.
For example, did you know that by adding healthy fats like olive and canola oil, avocado or nuts to meals that contain brightly colored vegetables like tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, broccoli, and eggplant, you absorb five to seven times more nutrients than without the fat? The nutrients in all these brightly colored veggies boost vision, improve immunity and protect against heart disease. Other healthy food pairings include:
Salsa + avocado—you’ll absorb four times more lycopene (heart health).
Green Salad + Nuts . Nuts contain a heart healthy fats and will help you absorb five times more lutein and other carotenoids found in green lettuce (eye health and immune system). Using a healthy fat like olive oil helps too.
Green tea + lemon –Green tea is already rich in antioxidants, adding citrus juice leads to a fourfold increase in disease-fighting catechins (cancer fighter).
Tomato sauce + lean protein –Tomato sauce increases the absorbtion of iron
There are plenty of others. That’s why you can’t just rely on supplements. Good health comes from food.
What are your healthy eating challenges?
Heidi Diller, RD