7 Healthy Food Pairings to Improve Your Diet

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Some foods are really just meant to be eaten together, and we’re not just talking about flavor pairings.

Certain foods actually complement each other for health reasons. As such, eating them together can seriously enhance the nutrition from your diet.

Below we’ll explore some interesting food pairings that will benefit your taste buds and your body all at once. Ready?

Avocados and Hamburgers 

This duo has become quite popular at restaurants, but few know there is an actual health benefit.

In a clinical study, individuals eating hamburgers with avocados experienced less inflammation and better circulation than men who ate hamburgers alone.1

Olive Oil and Tomatoes

This is a match made in culinary heaven but for health reasons. It turns out the lycopene in tomatoes, a cancer-fighting compound, is absorbed better when olive oil is added to the mix.2

The effect is more pronounced if the tomatoes are cooked.3

Rice and Vinegar

Sushi rolls wouldn’t be the same without vinegar. It gives a nice twang and an added benefit: it lowers high blood sugar levels too.4

Acetic acid, which gives vinegar its characteristic sour flavor, is the key. Similarly, vinegar can be added to pasta, bread, and other starchy carbs to prevent glucose spikes.

Fish and Red Wine

Next time you eat fish, include a little red wine with your meal. It turns out that wine drinkers have higher levels of omega-3s in their and polyphenols are thought to mediate this effect.5

Green Tea and Lemon

Think twice before adding cream to your tea! Add lemon juice instead.

According to research, lemon juice enhances the absorption of the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea. 6

Rosemary and Grilled Red Meat

Rosemary adds top-notch flavor to red meat, but it does a little more than that.

According to research it lessens the production of carcinogens (specifically heterocyclic amines) produced during grilling.7

Cinnamon and Sugar

If you have a sweet tooth, eat your desserts with a dash of cinnamon. It helps to minimize the damage at least somewhat.

Cinnamon contains compounds that help your body metabolize sugar. Not surprisingly, it lowers blood sugar levels too.8


  1. Food Funct. 2013 Feb 26;4(3):384-91. 
  2. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14(2):131-6. 
  3. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/lycopene. Accessed April 15, 2015. 
  4. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;59(9):983-8. 
  5. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):354-62. 
  6. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Sep;51(9):1152-62. 
  7. J Food Sci. 2010 Mar;75(2):T40-7. 
  8. Diabet Med. 2010 Oct;27(10):1159-67.


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