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Pairing Foods to Maximize Nutritional Power

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

When you hear the words ‘food pairings’ you probably think about which wine to serve with chicken picatta, or what kind of beer goes with schnitzel.

But certain pairings can have a real effect on the nutritional value of foods, too, and more people are paying close attention to this synergy.


p(right caption). The celery root and almond panna cotta with Peekytoe crab and grapefruit at Rouge Tomate.

There are even some restaurants now playing up the nutritional benefits of food pairings, as first reported by Gina Pace at CBSNews.com.

Rouge Tomate, a white tablecloth restaurant in New York City, works hard to partner foods to maximize nutrition. For example, foods high in heart-healthy omega-3 (such as many types of fish) may be purposely accompanied by ingredients rich in polyphenols, like grapes. The grapes help protect the delicate structure of the omega-3, so the body can better absorb it.

On-staff nutritionist Natalia Rusin oversees this kind of nutritional matchmaking for Rouge Tomate. Quoted in the CBS article, Rusin says, ‘The nation is full of nutrition-related diseases at epidemic levels, like high blood pressure and heart disease. This is so important.’

Another food combination that’s been shown to improve nutritional potency is iron and vitamin C. Thus, a citrus vinaigrette would be an excellent choice to boost the healthy benefit from an iron-rich spinach salad, says registered dietician Keri Glassman.

Dietician Elaine Magee, author of more than 25 books on nutrition and healthy cooking, offers pairing suggestions in her book Food Synergy: Unleash Hundreds of Powerful Healing Food Combinations to Fight Disease and Live Well. Among her recommendations: whole grains with green tea.

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