Sunday, 5 December, 2021


Have you thought about food pairing?

Have you thought about food pairing?

Popular News

We always talk about eating healthy food for better nutrition, but only concentrating on healthy food is not enough. We have to look at the food pairing, we are using every day. Some foods when eaten together work against each other and create barriers in nutrient intake. On the other hand, some foods make it easier to absorb nutrients when eaten together. Below are some examples of what types of food pairing we should avoid and what we should practice.

Food paring that we should avoid

Fruit and starch: Eating fruit and starch like grains together can create digestion problem. The reason behind this is, when fruits are taken with starch, they stay in our stomach for longer duration and cause fermentation.

Salad and fat free dressing: Choosing fat free dressing in salad create difficulties to absorb the fat soluble nutrients from the salad.

Orange juice and grains: The enzyme needed for digesting starches, are destroyed by acidic fruits like orange, which upsets the stomach.

Coffee/ caffeinated drinks and iron rich foods: Coffee and caffeinated drinks can hamper iron absorption. Even coffee may affect the iron storage level of the body. Mainly non-heme iron absorption is hampered, which comes from plant protein. If you maintain one hour different from having iron rich food to take caffeinated drinks, then it will not create any problem. Besides that, having animal protein, copper and vitamin C in the meal can improve non-heme iron absorption.

Meat and dairy: Iron and calcium create a barrier to each other’s absorption, so you should avoid adding cheese in the burger. Besides that you should be informed eating burger regularly is not good for health.

Coffee/ tea and calcium rich foods: It is a good idea to avoid drinking coffee/ tea with calcium rich foods. Caffeine decreases the body’s ability to absorb calcium as well as increases greater amounts of calcium excretion.

Tea and milk: Having milk with tea damages the health benefits of tea. Polyphenols-the disease fighting chemical in tea does not work properly because of the casein in milk.

Whole grains and spinach: It is a good idea to not to pair whole grains and spinach. Oxalic acid from spinach and fiber from whole grains make it difficult to absorb calcium. Having at least two hour gap to eat this type of food before taking high fiber foods, can solve the problem.

Food paring that we should practice

Eggs and salad: eating eggs with salad increase the absorption of nutrients. In a study it was found that people who ate eggs with salad absorbed three to nine times more carotenoids then those who ate Eggless salad. Among those carotenoids, there were lycopene and beta-carotene, which help in cancer risk reduction and heart disease prevention.

Roast vegetables and olive oil: roasted vegetables with olive oil enhance the absorption of beta-carotene and some other nutrients from vegetables.

Onions and chickpeas: A study found that iron and zinc from grains and legumes, including chickpeas are more absorbable in the presence of sulfur compounds of onions, garlic and leeks.

Tofu and bell peppers: Tofu is a good source of iron and by pairing that with vitamin C rich bell peppers we can get more iron. If you don’t like bell peppers you can try with beans or lentils.

Black beans and salsa: Phytic acid in beans creates barriers in absorption of minerals like zinc and iron.

Eating vitamin C rich food like salsa counters the effects of phytic acid and helps in these nutrients absorption.


Sharmin Sultana Public Health Professional and Freelance Writer

Email: [email protected]