Turns out that it’s not only about eating the right foods. To maximize lean results, it’s also about having the right foods paired together on your plate. In fact, being strategic about what you eat together and when can not only effect your rate of fat loss, but bloating and your metabolism as well. To find out about some ideal food combinations we turned to Alexandra Caspero MA, RD, CLT, RYT and a nutritionist at HUM, a brand that makes a curated selection of vitamins and supplements, to highlight some of the most potent pairings for weight loss. Here’s what she had to say.
1. Avocado and tomato
Adding healthy fats, like the ones found in avocados, increases the absorption of carotenoids (like lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene), which are found in tomatoes. Carotenoids help decrease the risk of diseases, particularly certain cancers and eye disease. While this is true for just about any fat and fat soluble vitamin, the avocado-tomato pairing is especially strong.
2. Beef and broccoli
Vitamin C helps keep iron in ferrous form, which helps to increase absorption. Anytime you consume iron — like the kind found in beef — you want to make sure you have a vitamin C source readily available. Broccoli, as it turns out, has even more vitamin C than an orange, but if you are taking an iron supplement (versus opting for something in food form), chase it with a glass of orange juice instead of water.
3. Garlic and chickpeas
Garlic can increase the absorption of the zinc found in chickpeas. Thankfully, garlic and chickpeas are found commonly together, especially in Mediterranean food. Enjoy garlic hummus and vegetable for a power-duo snack.
4. Kale and salmon
Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium in the gut. It’s also an essential bone growth vitamin, without it bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Most fortified milks (regular or plant-based) contain both vitamin D and calcium but if yours doesn’t, switch brands. Kale and salmon is not only an incredibly healthy combination it will boost both your vitamin D and your calcium levels.
5. Buckwheat pancakes and strawberries
Buckwheat contains the antioxidant rutin and, when combined with the vitamin C found in strawberries, can help prevent LDL (bad cholesterol) oxidation.
6. Tofu and hot peppers
The isoflavones (plant-derived compounds) found in tofu plus the capsaicin (active compounds) found in hot peppers can tame inflammation. Isoflavones are unique to soy. A spicy stir fry with tofu and plenty of hot peppers can help to reduce general inflammation.
7. Apple and peanut butter
This is a perfect post-workout snack as it combines carbohydrates from the apple and healthy fats from the peanut butter. After a workout you want to refuel your muscle cells, providing them with available glucose to restore glycogen levels and protein for muscle repair. This snack is satisfying and a great source of both.