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14 foods that are healthier when paired together

New research shows some foods deliver bonus health benefits when paired up. It's called food synergy — an easy way to power up your diet. Check out some of our fave super-combos.
14 foods that are healthier when paired together

(Photo by Corbis)

Eat more dynamic duos

Boost energy with chicken and grapefruit

If you feel like you're running out of steam, perk up instantly with the uplifting combo of coenzyme Q10 (found in poultry, pork and fish, and proven to maximize energy) and grapefruit: A study from Hokkaido University in Japan shows the tangy citrus fruit improves absorption of coenzyme Q10 by up to 50 percent. 

Try it today: Brown bag this chicken-and-grapefruit salad to boost your performance on the job.

14 foods that are healthier when paired together(Photo by Andreas Trauttmansdorff)

Soothe inflammation the natural way

1. Peppers + tofu
A Korean study suggests eating hot peppers and tofu together is a proven solution for easing inflammation. This is thanks to the magic pairing of capsaicin, an antioxidant found in jalapenos and other hot peppers, and genistein, an isoflavone found in soy foods like tofu and edamame.

2. Black pepper + turmeric
Listen up, spice girls: Adding a little zip helps keep you healthy. Turns out turmeric and black pepper work in tandem to decrease inflammation. "Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a great anti-inflammatory, and mixing it with the piperine in black pepper boosts its benefits by increasing curcumin absorption," says Desiree Nielsen, a dietitian in Vancouver.

See more herbs and spices that can boost your health

14 foods that are healthier when paired together(Photos by Sian Richards)
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Beat fatigue with spinach and strawberries

If you're craving a nap, you may actually need iron, not sleep (about 30 percent of us are iron deficient). Low iron can cause headaches and constant fatigue, but pairing spinach and strawberries can dramatically increase your body's iron supply. "Spinach boasts plenty of plant-based iron," says Nielsen. "And strawberries contain vitamin C, which makes the iron easier to absorb."

Discover fresh summer salad ideas

Spinach-Strawberry-Salad(Photo by Corbis)

Grill meat with rosemary

Not only does this herb enhance the flavour of anything grilled, its powerful antioxidants can help neutralize heterocyclic amines (HCAs), the cancer-causing compounds in well-done meat, say researchers at Kansas State University.

14 foods that are healthier when paired together(Photo by Andrew Pini/Getty Images)

Save your skin with olive oil and tomatoes

Scrap the expensive treatments and soothe your skin from the inside out by eating the Mediterranean way: lots of olive oil and tasty tomatoes. Researchers at Newcastle University in England say the lycopene in tomatoes protects skin from sunburn and aging — and combining them with olive oil helps you reap their full benefits. "Lycopene is a fat-soluble substance, so it needs a healthy fat, like olive oil, to help with absorption," says Nielsen.

Make it a habit: Stock your kitchen with canned and fresh tomatoes. And choose tomato-based soups and sauces over creamy ones.

Read more health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. 

14 foods that are healthier when paired together(Photo by Dinamir Predov/Getty Images)
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Protect your heart with fish and wine

Enjoying a glass of wine with the catch of the day boosts omega-3 fatty acid levels in your blood, say Italian researchers. They discovered these heart-friendly compounds (found in fish like salmon and trout) were absorbed better when paired with a glass of wine. Beer and cocktails didn't offer the same health benefits, so serve merlot over margaritas at your next dinner party.

See seven more health benefits of fish oil here

14 foods that are healthier when paired together(Photo by Trinette Reed/Foodpix/Getty Images)

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