We all know that some foods taste better together - from a splash of dressing on a salad, to the carefully crafted concoction that is your favourite pre or post workout morning smoothie - but did you know that by eating certain foods together you can actually make them healthier too?
'Food synergy' is an exciting new scientific concept based on the idea that eating certain foods together can boost nutrient absorption in the gut. This means that by enjoying certain foods at the same time, you can potentially make them even healthier. A win for you and your taste buds!
To help you get started on making meal times work even harder, we asked Discover Great Veg Nutritionist Fiona Hunter for her top food synergy pairings using cavolo nero, leeks and spinach.
From brunch staple spinach and eggs to adding olive oil to your summer cavolo nero salad, there's something for every occasion - so next time you're in the kitchen, why not give them a try and reap the nutritional and taste benefits?
What foods should I be eating together?
1.Cavolo nero and lemon
Adding a splash of vitamin C-rich citrus juice to cavolo nero will help release up to three times more iron than eating the veg alone. Vitamin C changes the chemical structure of the iron in vegetables - making it more soluble and easier for the body to absorb. *
2.Spinach and eggs
A tried and tested favourite, eating eggs with spinach will boost absorption of the carotenoids in spinach. In a study carried out at Purdue University in Indiana, those who ate the combination absorbed between 3-9 times more than those who ate the veg alone. **
3.Cavolo nero and olive oil
The phytochemical lutein found in cavolo nero is better absorbed in the presence of fat such as olive oil or goats cheese, so adding a little of these to dishes can boost absorption. Just be sure to add the fat after the cavolo nero is cooked. We hear our summer salads calling…***
4.Leeks and cheese
Leeks contain inulin, which helps boost the levels of 'good' bacteria in the digestive system, and emerging research suggests certain probiotic bacteria may help the body absorb calcium from the colon. Pair the leeks with cheese, milk or kale -all good sources of calcium. ****
5.Cavolo nero and chickpeas
The magnesium in cavolo nero is better absorbed when combined with protein-rich foods such as chickpeas, so sprinkle on top of the veg to get the added benefits. *****