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25 Healthy Food Combinations For Adults

Eating healthy is not a status quo but something that should be considered as a normal part of your every day. While picking the right and healthy food is important, it is equally important to know whether you are pairing your foods in the right (healthy) way.

Combining foods is a philosophy of eating and has ancient roots. Food combining theory believes that improper food combinations can lead to disease, toxin build-up and digestive problems [1].

Food combining is the idea that certain foods pair well together while other foods do not.

Food Combinations That Are Bad For Your Kid's Health

This article contains the following:

  • Importance Of Food Combining
  • Rules of Food Combining
  • Foods That Should Always Be Eaten Together
  • Healthy Fruit Combinations For Breakfast
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The Science And Philosophy Of Food Combining

Food can be your friend or your enemy - it solely depends on how you choose to deal with food, that is, what you eat when you eat, and how you eat it. The science of food and eating stresses the importance of the right way of eating, which also talks about the benefits of food combinations.

For example, green tea + lemon is an amazingly healthy food combination that increases the existing benefits of green tea and lemon; adding citrus juice to green tea increases the body's ability to absorb its antioxidants by more than five times.

Food combining principles first appeared in Ayurvedic medicine and was popularised later in the 1900s under the term trophology, or 'the science of food combining' [2]. Types of food are generally classified as either acidic, alkaline or neutral, and the idea of food combining philosophy is to combine these foods in a healthy way in a meal [3].

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Rules Of Food Combining

Different foods are digested at different speeds; combining fast-digesting food with slow-digesting food can cause stomach issues and digestive problems. Also, different foods require different enzymes to be broken down and that these enzymes work at different pH levels in the gut [4].

While there are no specific or strict laws for combining food, the common ones are as follows [5]:

  • Do not combine starches with acidic foods.
  • Do not combine different types of protein.
  • Do not combine starches and protein.
  • Each fruit, especially melons, is on an empty stomach.
  • Do not mix protein with fat.
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Healthy Food Combos For Adults

1. Tomatoes with olive oil: Tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene. This nutrient is fat-soluble and can help in the proper absorption of fats. Eat tomatoes along with olive oil. The essential fatty acids present in olive oil, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, can be better absorbed by the body [6].

2. Broccoli with tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in lycopene; tomatoes also contain vitamins C, A, E and B, lutein and zeaxanthin. Broccoli is rich in vitamin K, folate and anti-cancer substances. If you eat these two vegetables together, then the cancer-fighting ability of both the vegetables is increased by almost 50 per cent, states studies [7][8]. You can have this as a salad for lunch or dinner.

3. Kale with almonds: Although not a common vegetable used in the Indian kitchen, kale is rich in manganese, copper, fibre, calcium and potassium, B vitamins and also vitamins C, E, A and K. If almonds are eaten along with kale, the antioxidants present in almonds will help in the absorption of all the nutrients present in the kale. These are among the best foods to eat in combination [9].

4. Apple with dark chocolate: Dark chocolate increases the heart-healthy properties of the apples [10]. The risk of death due to heart attacks can decrease if you eat apples and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in an antioxidant called catechins, which supports a healthy heart.

5. Black beans with red bell pepper (capsicum): Black beans are rich in iron, which is difficult to be absorbed by the body. However, if you eat red bell pepper along with it, then the vitamin C content increases the absorption of iron present in black beans by almost six times [11].

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6. Garlic with salmon: A study has shown that the cholesterol-reducing properties of garlic are increased if you eat it along with a salmon fish. Salmon fish contains omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that increase the health properties of garlic [12].

7. Cayenne pepper with cocoa powder: You can give your hot chocolate a makeover with this sweet and spicy combo. Cayenne pepper is known to boost metabolism, and cocoa powder is enriched with antioxidants. Mixing these ingredients is known to provide one with various health benefits, including weight loss [13].

8. Hemp seeds and coconut oil: Hemp seeds contain magnesium that helps with sleep issues, bone density and hypertension prevention. These are better absorbed by the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil and is considered a healthy combo for adults [14].

9. Almond butter and banana: The fibre and protein in the nut butter work better against the sugar in the fruit. Almonds help in slowing down the rate at which the body absorbs the sugar.

10. Eggs and mushroom: One of the benefits of having mushrooms and egg combo is that the beta-glucans present in them helps lower the blood cholesterol level. Although eggs contain high cholesterol levels, they do not affect the cholesterol in the blood. As a matter of fact, eggs are known to promote or increase good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. Therefore, in totality, the combination of mushrooms with eggs has no negative effect on the blood cholesterol level. It's a pretty good way to ensure good heart health and to avoid risks related to the heart [15].

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11. Oatmeal and orange juice or banana shake: combining vitamin C rich foods like orange with oatmeal is a healthy breakfast idea. The polyphenols in oats and orange juice reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and clear artery blockages, thus preventing heart attacks. On the other hand, bananas are a healthy fruit that can boost up body metabolism to keep you active and energetic all day long [16].

12. Black pepper with green tea: The weight loss and cancer-fighting ability of green tea are increased when it is combined with some black pepper. It contains a compound known as piperine, which gives black pepper its unique taste and smell. This substance helps better absorb antioxidants such as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) present in green tea in the body [17].

13. Greek yoghurt with banana: This combination will help with calcium and insulin absorption. It helps maintain the bone mineral mass, thus proving to be an ideal food combination.

14. Green tea with lemon: Green tea is packed with good antioxidants and fires your metabolism. This, when combined with lemon, increases the body's ability to absorb the tea's antioxidants five times more.

15. Oatmeal with blueberries: Oatmeal and blueberries are loaded with phytochemicals that can fight inflammation and diseases in the body. This works even better in the body when they are combined together. These are two of the top foods that should be eaten together.

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16. Strawberries with spinach: Adding sliced strawberries to spinach salad will help with better absorption of iron and vitamin C and is a healthy comb for adults [18].

17. Spinach with walnuts: This will make your salad a whole lot healthier. Spinach contains vitamin K, and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that help with the absorption of vitamin K in the body.

18. Turmeric with black pepper: Combining turmeric with black pepper is a great way to boost your body's ability to absorb the anti-cancer properties of curcumin, the molecule in turmeric that gives the yellow colour [19].

19. Red wine with black pepper: Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which may help improve the bioavailability of resveratrol, the disease-preventing antioxidant in red wine. While it may not sound like the perfect combo, try it out next time you are sipping on wine [20].

Some more healthy food combinations for adults are as follows:

  • Green tea with kiwi
  • Blackberries and tofu
  • Avocado with spinach
  • Avocado with sweet potato
  • Blueberries with cottage cheese
  • Almonds with yoghurt
  • Sardine with spinach
  • Brown rice with lentils
  • Brown rice with garlic and onion
  • Pistachios with raisin
  • Carrots with hummus
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Healthy Fruit Combos For Breakfast

20. Cherry, pineapple and blueberry: Tart cherries are rich in phytonutrients, including anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory benefits that provide relief from pain and help in muscle recovery. Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which lowers the inflammation of the gut and stimulates protein digestion [21]. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and having these fruits on a regular basis can revitalize your system [22].

21. Watermelon, lemon and goji berry: Watermelons contain a major detoxifying agent called glutathione. It's also a good source of lycopene which fights the free radicals. Goji berries are packed with antioxidants, choline and iron, which are required by the liver for detoxification [23]. Lemons are also strong detoxifiers and possess antibacterial and antiviral properties. Squeeze lemon over the fruits.

22. Strawberry, kiwi and grapefruit: These fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps in boosting the immune system and fights sickness. Eating kiwi, grapefruit and strawberries will prevent free radical damage that can lead to inflammation in the body [24].

23. Papaya, blackberry and cantaloupe: Papaya is packed with antioxidants and contains papain enzyme that prevents skin damage. Cantaloupe contains beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A in the body that keeps the skin and hair healthy. Blackberries are low in sugar, packed with antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C [25].

24. Pomegranate, red grapes and fig: Pomegranates contain a higher amount of antioxidants which can reverse the skin damage caused by free radicals. Red grapes contain resveratrol which has powerful antioxidant and anti-ageing properties that prevent diseases and reduce the signs of ageing [26]. Figs are rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, and calcium and vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K.

25. Apple, banana and avocado: This fruit combination is perfect to charge your body up to get you through the day. You could also try having these fruits as a pre-workout or post-workout snack. Bananas and avocados will provide your body with quick energy. Apples have a high fibre content that will keep you full for a longer period. If you get up feeling fatigued every morning, this fruit plate is for you [27].

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On A Final Note…

Combining certain foods cleverly is known to increase the nutritional value of your meals. The nutrients present in some foods can also complement the nutrients present in other foods.

Read more about: adults diet food combo nutrition