Posted on 11 April, 2016

5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat Together

By Jacob Andreae in Health, Success 5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat Together

[Photo credit: Frann Leach]

Figuring out what to eat in order to lose weight, or simply eat healthy, can be confusing. My usual advice is to eat plenty of veggies. Incorporate them into as many meals as possible and choose them for snacks throughout the day. However, there’s a desire by many people to know more. You might have heard that some foods combine well and some don’t. Remembering what these foods are is difficult if you don’t talk about them on a daily basis.

Based on the make-up of foods, some foods are better not eaten together and some foods are better eaten together. If you want to delve deeper into what foods work best either on their own or apart, I’ve compiled a list of five for each below.

Here's a video of me making (some for the first time!) and tasting 5 recipes, combining foods that should be eaten together for maximum nutritional benefit. Stay up-to-date by subscribing to JacobTV

5 Foods that Should Not be Eaten Together

  1. Fruit and any Meal
    Fruit travels quickly through the stomach and is digested in the intestines. When it’s eaten with other foods, it hangs around in the stomach for too long and starts to ferment.

    Instead, eat fruit at least 30 minutes before a meal to prepare the digestive tract for what’s to come. 
  2. Meat and Potatoes
    Proteins require an acid base to digest while starches require an alkaline base to digest.

    Instead, eat either meat or potatoes with green, leafy vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and bok choy. 
  3. Salad and Fat Free Dressing
    Fat assists with absorption. Carotenoids, which are fat soluble pigments that give vegetables their colour, are linked to a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. Carotenoids are more readily absorbed when eaten with fat.

    Instead, pour a small amount of olive oil on your salad. 
  4. Meat and Meat
    Concentrated proteins take a long time to break down. If you’re eating a multi-course meal, make meat the final course of that meal.

    Instead, make the initial courses of the meal light vegetables and include vegetables with your meat that is high in water content such as lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and onion. 
  5. Milk and Tea
    Tea is rich in antioxidants and work to reduce inflammation. Milk and other milk products lead to inflammation of the digestive system. The proteins in milk bind to the antioxidants in tea and prevent their absorption.

    Instead, drink herbal tea with hot water.

5 Foods that Should be Eaten Together for Maximum Nutritional Benefit

  1. Iron and Vitamin C

    5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat Together
    [Photo credit: Alpha]

    Iron Heme - meat and seafood.
    Iron Nonheme - chickpeas and dark leafy greens.
    Vitamin C - oranges, lemons, capsicums and strawberries.

    There are actually two types of iron - heme and nonheme. Heme iron is found in meat and seafood, while nonheme iron is found in chickpeas and dark leafy greens. Nonheme iron isn’t as readily absorbed by the body as heme iron. Foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, capsicums, kiwi fruit, and strawberries, raise the acidity of the intestines, which allows the nonheme iron in chickpeas and dark leafy greens to be absorbed more easily. This is particularly important for vegetarians. 

    When mixing your iron and vitamin C, avoid tea, whole grains, and dairy products, as they inhibit the absorption of nonheme iron.

    Try adding an orange-based dressing to a chickpea salad.

  2. Lycopene and Unsaturated Fats

    5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat Together
    [Photo credit: Caro]

    Lycopene - red coloured fruit.
    Unsaturated fats - avocados, almonds, olive oil, salmon.

    Lycopene is what gives red coloured fruit their colour. It’s also a cancer fighting antioxidant. Pairing lycopene with unsaturated fats allows up to four times more lycopene to be absorbed by the body and up to three times more beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is also a pigment which gives orange and red foods their colour.

    Try homemade salsa with avocado.

  3. Vitamin A and Zinc

    5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat Together
    [Photo credit: Emma Jane Hogbin Westby]

    Vitamin A - sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens, winter squash.
    Zinc - spinach, pumpkin, pine nuts, almonds, oysters.

    Vitamin A is important for vision, the immune system, and reproduction. It also helps to protect you from viruses. Zinc assists the proper functioning of the immune and digestive system. It is also beneficial for hair and skin care. Consuming zinc with vitamin A, allows almost all the vitamin A to be absorbed.

    Try a carrot and leafy green salad sprinkled with pine nuts. 

  4. Sulforaphane and Selenium

    5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat Together
    [Photo credit: Justin Smith]

    Sulforaphane - cruciferous vegetables.
    Selenium - mineral in fish, meat, eggs, nuts, and mushrooms.

    Sulforaphane can inhibit the growth of tumor cells. Selenium binds with proteins to make antioxidant enzymes which protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are atoms with an odd number of electrons. They are dangerous when they react with important cellular components such as DNA. Combining sulforaphane and selenium are up to four times more effective when paired than when on their own.

    Try brussels sprouts and broccoli with beef or fish. 

  5. Green Tea and Lemon

    5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat Together
    [Photo credit: Desiree Litchford]

    Adding lemon to green tea creates five times more catechin, which is an antioxidant.

    Try making a large batch of green tea with soda water, a lemon wedge and mint leaves. Chill and enjoy for several days. Add ice when you pour a glass.

At the end of the day, if this is all too confusing, eat vegetables. Eat them as snacks and with most meals. If you eat meat, chicken or fish, choose that which is grass fed and organic. If you’re not allergic to nuts, eat them for snacks. Eat fresh fruit, which when as a snack, is on its own.

What food combinations do you want to know more about?

About Jacob Andreae

About Jacob Andreae

I write and speak about Fitness, Nutrition and Mindset. 

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5 Foods that You Should and Should Not Eat TogetherA quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.