We all know a colorful plate is important, but new research is giving us even more reason to add color and variety. Food synergy is a hot topic with today's health nuts: some foods work better together by increasing the bioavailability of nutrients (Bioavailability is the amount of useful nutrients our bodies can absorb from food). Here are a few food pairings you may be missing:
Broccoli and Tomatoes
The American Institute of Cancer Research knows all about phytochemicals and their impact on cancerous cells. One well-studied phytochemical is lycopene (found in tomatoes and watermelon), which has been shown to help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, pairing tomatoes with broccoli can increase the amount of lycopene your body can use and has also been shown to successfully decrease tumor size.
Tuscan Broccoli Pizza Makes 8 servings
Total time: 1 hour
1 bag (11.8 oz) Green Giant® Seasoned Steamers™ frozen Tuscan seasoned broccoli
1 can (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, if desired
HEAT oven to 400°F. GREASE large cookie sheet with cooking spray. COOK broccoli as directed on bag; COOL 10 minutes. Meanwhile, UNROLL dough on cookie sheet; PRESS into 15x12-inch rectangle. BAKE about 8 minutes or until light golden brown. In small bowl, MIX oil and garlic. BRUSH on pizza crust. TOP with, broccoli, tomatoes, cheese and pepper flakes. BAKE 8 to 10 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. CUT into squares.
Nutrition information per serving: 271.3 calories; 14 g fat; 4.5 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 530 mg sodium; 26.2 g carbohydrate; 2.5 g fiber; 10.5 g protein
Grains and Orange Juice
The World Health Organization reported that iron is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide. Although iron is found in grains, it's not as readily available from these sources as from meat and other proteins. The fix: a little vitamin C. Pair whole grains with orange juice and fresh fruit to get the most iron in your breakfast.
Beans and Rice
Beans are rich in protein and fiber, making them a staple in any healthy lifestyle. However, the protein in beans is lacking some essential amino acids our bodies need for protein synthesis. Adding a complementary protein (like rice, corn, or whole grains) supplies the missing essential amino acids to make a complete protein.
Red Beans and Rice
Makes 4 servings
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or canola oil)
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, chopped
¼ tsp. dried thyme
½ can Mrs. Grimes® Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup rice
½ tsp. salt
HEAT oil in a large saucepan and ADD garlic, green onion and thyme. SAUTE for 2 minutes. ADD beans, water and coconut milk; STIR and bring to a boil. ADD in rice and salt. PLACE a lid on top, REDUCE heat to low and SIMMER 15 to 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
Nutrition information per serving: 279 calories; 19 g fat; 16.6 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 380 mg sodium; 23.6 g carbohydrate; 4.5 g fiber; 5.2 g protein