There is frequent discussion about how food combinations may impact nutrition. A very small study published in May 2015 revealed some intriguing results: “adding eggs to salads makes it easier to absorb the carotenoids in the raw vegetables.”

In this piece, written for NPR’s The Salt by Eliza Barclay (@ElizaBarclay) and Allison Aubrey (@AubreyNPRFood) – another dynamic duo – the authors explore how to get more nutrition by pairing foods.

Other work the UC Food Observer has featured by these authors includes: Grocery stores are evolving (Barclay); Raley’s grocery chain will tackle food waste and Landfill of lettuce (Aubrey).


Barclay and Aubrey write:


The dynamic duo of eggs and carrots (or any other vegetable or fruit high in carotenoids) got us wondering about other food power couples. Turns out, they’re not so hard to find.

“The impact of consuming one food with another on the absorption of nutrients is well known in nutrition science,” Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and lead author of the egg and salad study, tells The Salt. “Sometimes the impact may be positive and at other times negative.”


What are some other examples? Tortillas.


…After corn is soaked in lime and water, then ground up, all kinds of nutrients in the corn are released and made available for absorption — calcium, iron, niacin and minerals. This is why corn tortillas have been one of the bedrocks of Mesoamerican cuisine for millennia.


A common pairing you may want to avoid?


It turns out that phytates — a kind of acid — in things like tea and coffee may decrease the absorption of iron and zinc. So if you’re having bacon with your morning coffee, you’re not going to pick quite as many nutrients out of breakfast as you might otherwise.


A quick and informative read.


Related Links:

How our body clocks influence our waistlines

Q&A: Pat Crawford, UC Nutrition Policy Institute