You probably already have a pretty good idea of what foods can be considered healthy (and what foods probably don’t make the cut), but it turns out that’s not where the story ends. When it comes to maximizing the health benefits of some foods, this can be achieved through creating the proper food pairings, or food “power couples.” In other words, some food duos have the power to help your body make the most of the nutritional value of the foods you are pairing, thus maximizing the natural health benefits that each food has on its own.


Take a look below to see some of the ultimate power couples you may have in your kitchen, and learn to make the most of your food pairings in order to maximize the nutritional synergy of your meals!

Tomatoes and Olive Oil  

Tomatoes are a strong source of lycopene, an antioxidant which is not only responsible for tomatoes’ color but also has a wide range of health benefits from improving bone health to lowering your risk of lung disease, stroke, or even cancer. However, studies have shown that by combining tomatoes with healthy fats, such as olive oil, the combination will optimize your body’s ability to absorb the lycopene in tomatoes, and the pairing will also increase the overall antioxidant content of your meal.

Eggs and Cheese

Egg yolks are rich in vitamin D, which research has shown is helpful in promoting bone health and may even help in preventing your risk of the common cold and in fighting depression. However, the vitamin D you get from eggs becomes especially beneficial when paired with cheese because it maximizes your body’s ability to absorb calcium, which plays a role in bone and heart health, and can also help stabilize hormones. Try a cheesy omelet or an egg and cheese sandwich to work this pairing into your diet.

Spinach and Lemon

Spinach is rich in iron, a mineral which helps in the process of carrying oxygen to red blood cells. However, iron is not as readily absorbed by the body when it comes from plant-based foods as it is when it comes from foods like meat or fish. Vitamin C can help because it has the ability to convert plant-based iron into a form similar to that which we get from animal products, thus allowing it to be more easily utilized by the body.  By sprinkling a bit of lemon juice on a spinach salad, you can maximize your body’s ability to benefit from the iron content of this leafy green.

Grilled Meat and Rosemary

Rosemary may already be a spice that you use when you’re grilling up some steaks or burgers, however this herb does a lot more than add flavor to your meat. When you are grilling red meat there is a potential risk of producing chemical carcinogens which may be linked to cancer. Putting even just a dash of rosemary on your meat before getting them on the grill could reduce this risk as studies have shown that the herb’s natural antioxidants can prevent the formation of carcinogens during grilling.

Yogurt and Granola

Yogurt can contain a high level of probiotics (yogurts which contain probiotics will have “live and active cultures” somewhere on the label or packaging), which are live bacteria that research has shown can play a role improving several aspects of your health, including digestion and your immune system. Healthy on its own, pairing probiotic containing yogurt with fiber-rich granola – such as by having a yogurt, granola, and fruit parfait for breakfast – can help the probiotics work better in your system and can increase your body’s ability to utilize the healthy bacteria in your gut.


Do you know of any other “power couples” when it comes to food and maximizing the health benefits of your meals? We’d love to hear about them. Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me @tamarahoumi