Woman eating healthy food

Eating Healthy on 2,500 Calories

Two thousand and five-hundred calories every day might seem like a lot of food (or it might not, it really depends on your mental concepts of such things), but for a respectable portion of the population, it’s actually an appropriate target. Specifically, sedentary men ages 19 to 30, moderately active men ages 31 to 50, active men over 50, and very active women of various ages all may need approximately 2,500 calories in their diet.

But of course, it’s not as simple as calorie-counting, regardless of the target number. Not all calories are created equal, and to eat healthily, you need to balance things properly. Let’s talk about how to do that.

Lean Proteins
Protein is essential for everyone, and lean protein is the best you can get in this regard. On 2,500 calories a day, you need approximately 6.5 ounces of protein a day. An ounce of protein can be found in an ounce of seafood, poultry, lean red meats, an egg, ¼ cup of tofu, ½ an ounce of seeds and/or nuts, and a tablespoon of peanut butter, roughly speaking.

Woman having food rich in fiber.

Lots of Fiber
Also incredibly important is fiber. Following a 2,500 calorie plan, you should get 3 ¼ cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruits a day. Variety is key here, and generally, dark, leafy greens and vibrant red and purple fruits are best. For conversion purposes, half a cup of dried fruit is equal to one cup fresh fruit or fruit juice (no added sugar!), and 2 cups of leafy greens roughly equals one cup of other vegetables

Opt for Healthy Fats
For every source of trans fat and saturated fat, there’s plenty of alternatives. That said, healthy fats are still fats, and shouldn’t be over-consumed regardless. You want about 7 teaspoons of oil a day on a 2,500 plan; any extra is going to interfere with your heart health. Olive oils, coconut oil (in moderation; it is still a saturated fat), and avocado oil are just a few examples of healthier fats.

You Don’t Actually Need Dairy
It’s a common misconception that dairy is a basic food group and essential for good nutrition. This is actually quite false, and humans are not really designed to consume any kind of milk once they stop breastfeeding. That said, we’ve evolved to tolerate dairy, and in moderation, it’s not necessarily harmful (unless you’re lactose-intolerant, of course), so there’s nothing wrong with having a little as a treat now and then, but don’t get tricked into thinking it’s essential.

Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and coconut milk are a few examples of tasty non-dairy milk alternatives, and can help you avoid the saturated fats of many dairy products or if you can’t tolerate lactose. Skim milk also features less lactose, which might be okay if your lactose intolerance is mild or moderate (as opposed to severe), and it also, of course, contains less fat.

Baked eggplant with tomato and garlic

Clean Eating Tips

One interesting approach to nutrition that’s rising in popularity recently is called simply “clean eating.” And certainly, if it could help keep you healthy both before and after your wedding day, it’s worth a try, right? Well, we’re here to examine and evaluate this trend to give you the information you need to make healthy choices, and to decide if clean eating is worth pursuing.

But What Is it, Exactly?
Of course, before we can go any further, we need to define what clean eating actually is. In essence, the basic tenets of clean eating are eating five to six times a day (three meals and two to three small snacks), choose organic, clean foods whenever possible, and drink at least two liters of water a day. There are other details, like including lean protein, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate in every meal, but the three pillars of eating five-six times a day, choosing organic food, and drinking two liters of water each day are the basis of this idea. This sounds great in theory, but let’s examine it piece by piece to be sure.

Woman drinking water

Two Liters of Water
This is one realm in which clean eating is a little closer to being on-point, although of course, the truth is more complicated. How much water you should drink actually depends on your weight, location, and activity level. The rule of thumb is that you need between half an ounce and a whole ounce of water per pound you weight, every day. For example, a 150-pound person should drink between 75-150 ounces of water per day. The hotter and more arid your climate, the closer to the upper end of the range you’ll be. Likewise, the more exercise you get, the closer to the top you’ll be.

Eating Five to Six Times a Day
The idea here is that eating more often and in smaller portions is both better for weight loss and healthier in general because you’re spreading out calorie intake throughout the day and keeping your metabolism running smoothly. Sadly, the science does not agree here. Studies actually indicate there is no significant impact whatsoever to the frequency of eating, and that, in fact, eating more often makes you want to eat more.

Avocado sandwich

Organic Foods
Similarly, the need for the foods to be organic (and, by extension, GMO-free) in clean eating is not borne out by actual scientific knowledge. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are largely a positive development, and allow crops to be fortified with necessary nutrients, more reliably protected from diseases, and be produced more cheaply. On the other hand, organic growing is volatile and has a huge chance of failure or of infested crops, because of the restrictions on pesticide use that organic growing entails. In short, while there are some legitimate concerns with the agricultural industry, organic food is not the answer and generally has no benefit to your health.

All that said, this one is pretty close to the mark. The majority of the other tenets of clean eating are highly questionable, though. Just eat a healthy, varied diet, with proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates, fruits, and lots of leafy greens and other vegetables, and you should be fine.

Salad

Meatless Monday

When it comes to dieting, it can be frustrating and overwhelming to figure out what works for you. Elimination diets are extremely popular, but when not done carefully, they can actually be detrimental to your health. If you have ever thought about trying a vegetarian diet, but aren’t quite sure if you can commit to the total elimination of meat, try easy into it. Meatless Monday is not a new phenomenon, but it can be a refreshing way to change your diet in a way that you can really stick to! Why go meatless?

It’s Good for the Environment
Cutting down on the amount of meat you eat, even when it is only one day each week, can actually help the environment. Relying a little less on meat will cut down on how much water is used to make the food you buy. You will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If more and more people start embracing meatless Monday, it could make a real difference!

It’s Good for Your Health
Replacing a fatty protein with a lean protein once, or a few times, a week is going to help you lose weight, and it is better for your heart. Practicing meatless Monday is said to help you live longer because you get some of the benefits of eating a vegetarian diet, but putting less pressure on yourself to majorly restrict your diet right away is a huge benefit. It is really difficult for most people to cut out meat entirely right away, so joining meatless Mondays makes it really easy to stick to your plan, and a lot of people are trying it, so you aren’t alone!

Easy Way to Mix Up Your Menu
It’s very easy, but never fun, to fall into a repetitive, mundane rut when it comes to food. It can become difficult to come up with affordable, easy to cook options that you have the energy to make after work. Increasing the number of veggies you eat can really help get you out of your rut! There are tons of recipes out there that involve spicing up vegetables to create a filling, flavorful meal.

Dedicating one day a week to try out a vegetarian diet has many benefits. Just make sure you are planning your menu carefully so you aren’t cutting out protein with the meat! It’s easy to get enough protein as a vegetarian, but if you are trying it out for a day, don’t forget to add it to your meals!

Woman enjoying the sun in the grass

One a Day for Health

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We have all heard the phrase, and we know it’s about more than just apples! Making healthy choices every day can be hard, but consistently doing things each day to make healthy habits is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. There are all kinds of little things you can do each day to help you lead a healthier lifestyle!

Woman drinking water

Drink Water!
Whether you think 8 cups, a gallon, or some other amount is best, drinking one glass of water in the morning is a perfectly simple way to get ahead for the day. Whatever your goal is, starting your day with one glass of water down is going to make it so much easy to reach it!

Start Your Day with Green Tea
Green tea has caffeine, so it is a great choice for a morning pick-me-up. Unlike coffee, green tea can actually help you stay hydrated, as well as give you a boost of energy. Green tea also jump starts your metabolism and is rich in antioxidants- who wouldn’t want to add this stuff in their routine?

Woman exercising

Do Something Active for At Least 30 Minutes
This can be anything! Even going for a short walk can boost your energy and metabolism. Doing yoga, going for a bike ride, exploring your neighborhood, or taking a spin class are also great ways to be more active every day. Mix it up and try new things so you stay motivated and excited to get your 30 minutes (or more) of activity every day!

Replace One Unhealthy Food with a Healthy One
Dieting is hard. It’s certainly not fun to always be thinking about what you eat, more specifically what you can’t eat. A simple way to ease into making better diet choices is to simply replace one unhealthy food with something more nutritious each day, and working up from there if you choose. This could be as simple as choosing a good old-fashioned coffee instead of a sugary coffee drink, or skipping the pop tart and opting for a smoothie in the morning. This method keeps dieting from getting overwhelming and breaks it down to each meal or snack. Creating good habits that are satisfying and manageable is really the only way to turn a diet into a lifestyle change.

Woman drinking wine

Drink a Glass of Wine!
This one is our favorite. It is no secret now, after new studies have shown all of the possible benefits of resveratrol, that drinking wine can actually be healthy. This antioxidant just so happens to be found in the skins of red grapes, so when we drink wine, we are getting a healthy dose of resveratrol, which can improve heart health, protect your cells from damaging free radicals, and prevent muscle fatigue!

Making an effort to add healthy habits to your daily routine can work wonders when it comes to improving your overall health. The best part is, as you can tell by this list, not every healthy habit is going to be difficult or unpleasant! Some are downright fun (thank you resveratrol)! So don’t ditch the apples, but there are tons of other little things you can do each day for your health!

Woman eating healthy food

Eat Well: Berries, Spinach and Almonds

Diet is one of the most influential and important factors in your health, and you can improve your health by eating, or avoiding, certain foods. Three incredible superfoods that are easy to incorporate into a diet and that taste great are berries, spinach and almonds. These foods all have the ability to seriously boost your health with benefits ranging from lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s to preventing cardiovascular disease. Below, find out some specific information on why these superfoods should be put on your grocery list right now.

Bowl full of berries.

Berries
Although berries are small, the health benefits they provide for your body are huge. According to a study published in the Annals of Neurology, women who ate two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries per week showed delayed and decreased mental decline. “We think that the effect might be related to a class of compounds called anthocyanidins, which is a type of flavonoid. These compounds, found almost exclusively in berries, are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and locate in learning and memory centers in the brain,” explains study author, Elizabeth DeVore, ScD, a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The flavonoids and antioxidants found within berries are also associated with a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, the flavonoids in berries are believed to help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

It isn’t just your brain that berries help. Even though berries are sweet, they also have plenty of fiber and liquid, which make these the perfect snack for those looking to manage weight. The liquid and fiber content in berries will help you feel satiated and full in ways that a snack with refined sugar can’t. Although no clinical studies have been done yet, many health experts believe that berries are also a heart-healthy food that can lower your blood pressure. The antioxidants in berries are known to reduce overall inflammation in your body, which contributes to problems like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Bowl of spinach

Spinach
Popeye made spinach famous when he used it as fuel to fight off foes, and sometimes there is some truth on TV. While you won’t immediately sprout Popeye-sized muscles from eating spinach, you will be getting some amazing health benefits. “Eating spinach is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, hair and strong bones, as well as helping with digestion, lowering the risk for heart disease and improving blood glucose control in diabetics,” says registered dietician nutritionist, Megan Ware. Just one cup of spinach provides 987 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin K, which is important in keeping strong bones. A 2003 study found that low levels of vitamin K in women were associated with low bone density (the same is not true for men), and subsequent studies mention how necessary vitamin K is to healthy bone growth. Spinach also is a great source of iron, vitamin A and chlorophyll – which is thought to fight cancer.

Almonds

Almonds
Almonds are a very nutrient-dense food that contain vitamin E, magnesium, copper, B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, calcium, monounsaturated fat and potassium. While almonds are a source of fats, the monounsaturated fats can actually help you lose and maintain weight. One study found that people who consumed nuts twice weekly were 31 percent less likely to put on weight than those who didn’t eat nuts. Additionally, almonds may be beneficial to those who are pre-diabetic or struggle with blood glucose levels because it reduces the spike in blood sugar levels following a meal or snack. Almonds are also considered an excellent food for your heart, because they are able to lower your blood pressure and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, both of which are major factors in cardiovascular disease.

Berries, spinach and almonds provide health benefits that are absolutely astounding. Just a few servings of these foods each week can go a long way in fighting some very serious diseases, while also improving your skin, hair, bones and tasting great all the while. Whip up a healthy spinach salad that includes berries and sliced raw almonds for an incredible dose of flavor and health.

Woman reading a recipe

Immune Boosting Recipes

The height of winter is prime time for cold and flu season. Avoid getting sick by boosting your immune system with proper nutrition. The following recipes are all easy to make and don’t require any exotic ingredients. Enjoy these immune boosting recipes to keep your body as healthy as possible this winter.

Roasted Salmon with Oranges

Roasted Salmon with Oranges
Salmon is a good source of vitamin D which is a nutrient that triggers your immune cells to kill bacteria and viruses that are invading your body. With the addition of the orange and its vitamin C content, you have a double-whammy immune boosting, healthy and delicious dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh oranges cut into rounds
  • 1 white onion thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 (6oz) salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small cup, stir together lemon pepper seasoning, garlic powder and dried parsley. In a 9×13 dish, arrange orange slices in one layer then place a thin layer of onions on top of the oranges. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle ½ of the spice mix on the top. Roast for about 25 minutes in preheated oven until onions are brown and tender. Remove baking dish and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Move onion and orange mixture to the sides of baking dish and place salmon fillets in the middle. Season salmon with the remaining spice mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together orange and lemon juices, then pour evenly over salmon. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then remove. Discard roasted oranges and garnish the salmon with fresh orange slices and the roasted onions.

Green smoothie

Healthy Green Smoothie
The greens in this smoothie provide immune-boosting vitamins A and C, in addition to protein, fiber and calcium. This smoothie is a perfect immune boost and can be enjoyed as a quick breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 1 apple chopped (for the most nutrients, leave skin on)
  • 1 cup chopped kale with stems removed
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup water
  • Ice cubes (around 10-12)

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse several times. Puree until the mixture is smooth and serve. You can increase the nutrition by adding some ground flaxseed or chia seeds to this recipe or try a slightly different flavor by chopping a pear rather than an apple.

Cold cucumber salad.

Cold Cucumber Salad
Perfect for a refreshing side, this cucumber salad is super quick and easy to make. Cucumbers contain potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamins C, B1, B2, B6 and provitamin A. Cucumbers also aid healthy blood circulation, which is an essential factor in boosting your immune system.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cucumbers peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup fresh vidalia onion
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Cracked black pepper

In a bowl, toss cucumber slices with salt, then refrigerate for one hour. When chilled, drain the cucumbers and pat dry. In a large bowl, mix sour cream, sugar and black pepper. Stir in the cucumber and onion and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Other immune boosting foods include tomatoes, mangoes, kiwis and carrots, to name a few. Prepare a spinach salad with tomatoes, carrots and bell peppers or create a tropical fruit salsa with mango, papaya, pineapple and kiwi. Have fun in the kitchen preparing the above immune boosting recipes, and coming up with your own dishes.

Smoothie

Sip Your Way to Better Health with Resveratrol Smoothies

Our focus this week has been on resveratrol, and the clinical trials and studies underway that make this powerful antioxidant such a great investment in your health. Resveratrol is still being studied, but the research and studies seem to suggest that resveratrol may be beneficial for a number of health conditions. With these exciting results, you’re probably wondering how you can incorporate more resveratrol into your diet. Of course, you know that red wine is an excellent source of resveratrol due to the skin of red grapes, but what you may not know is that you can still sip your way to health. Try any one of these supercharged smoothies for a boost of resveratrol and other healthy ingredients.

Peanut Butter Smoothie.

Peanut Butter Smoothie
Resveratrol is also found in some nuts, including peanuts. If you love peanut butter, grab some and indulge in this smoothie. To avoid using ice, freeze your banana beforehand. When freezing bananas, always remember to remove the peel before your pop it in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup milk or milk substitute
  • 2 tablespoons all natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave

Directions

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • If you decide to use frozen bananas rather than ice, use a whole banana.

Dark Chocolate Green Smoothie
If you love all things chocolate, this smoothie is perfect for you.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or milk substitute
  • 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries or strawberries are awesome)
  • 3 cups baby spinach (or other dark leafy green)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder (or cacao nibs)
  • 1 mango peeled and cubed

Directions

  • Add the milk and mango to your blender and blend until smooth. Then add the frozen berries, cacao powder and mango.
  • Blend until thoroughly mixed.
  • Add your baby spinach and give it all another good blend.

Mixed Berry Smoothie

Mixed Berry Smoothie
Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are also sources of resveratrol. You can use one of these types of berries, or a mix of all three, when you make this smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla (or plain) yogurt

If you plan to use fresh berries rather than frozen, add ½ cup of ice to your ingredient list

Directions

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Smoothies are an excellent way to receive not only the benefits of resveratrol, but also other essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your body requires. They are also a great way to start your morning or energize your afternoon. Perhaps the best part of smoothies is how customizable they are; you can tweak these smoothie recipes to your tastes. Add cacao powder to your peanut butter smoothie or substitute a peach in place of banana in your berry smoothie. Enjoy experimenting with different fruit and flavor combinations while also receiving the vitamins and minerals, and resveratrol, that smoothies provide.

Purple grapes in a vineyard

Purple Foods for Longevity

Traditionally, the color purple is associated with royalty and not food. How many times in the past week, or even month, have you enjoyed a naturally purple food? The answer is probably not many, if any, meals included purple foods. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that Americans are not eating enough of this royal-hued produce. Why include purple foods in your diet? Foods that are naturally purple in color are colored this way due to chemicals known as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are believed to provide health care benefits for your eyes, heart and slowing the aging process. Additionally, anthocyanins soothe inflammation in your skin and body while also fighting off free radicals. Interested in experiencing these benefits for yourself? The following foods are easy (seriously) to incorporate into your diet and may increase not only the longevity, but also the quality, of your life.

Purple cauliflower

Purple Cauliflower
Purple cauliflower is actually a variety of broccoli that when cooked will turn green. This purple vegetable provides a high concentration of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins have also been linked to aiding in reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and neurological conditions. In addition, purple cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and B vitamins. If you can’t find purple cauliflower in your local grocery store, check health food stores or farmer’s markets to locate it. Break florets off for a colorful addition to your salad, roast them in your oven with garlic for a flavorful side dish or simply wash and eat it raw on its own.

Purple carrot and carrot juice.

Purple Carrots
These may be a bit more difficult to locate than purple cauliflower, but if you can find them definitely pick some up. You may have to make a trip to a specialty health food store or a farmer’s market, but these vegetables not only contain anthocyanins, they also contain pro-vitamin A carotenoids. Pro-vitamin A carotenoids provide benefits in the form of weight control and glucose (blood sugar) control. In fact, one study suggested that individuals with high levels of pro-vitamin A carotenoids had half of the risk of diabetes as those who didn’t. Replace orange carrots in your favorite soup, making carrot fries or munching on them as a snack are great ways to enjoy this purple vegetable.

Plums on a table

Plums/Prunes
Plums and their dried counterparts, prunes, are an excellent way to sneak some anthocyanins into your diet. In addition to containing these helpful chemicals, plums are also a great source of vitamins A and C. Plums also are a great source of dietary fiber, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium. A recent study indicates that eating plums (or prunes) regularly may also help lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) levels in your body. Plums and prunes are widely available and should be a sweet and easy way to incorporate purple foods into your diet.

Purple foods may seem exotic and perhaps intimidating, but this could not be farther from the truth. In addition to the foods listed above, there are purple varieties of potatoes, kale, cabbage, onions and even peppers. Increasing your intake of naturally purple foods adds years to your life while providing tasty options for your meals.

Spaghetti and wine

Resveralife Eat Well: Merlot Food Pairing Guide

The Merlot grape is the second most prominent grape variety in the world when it comes to planting. Second only to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is also the most consumed red wine in the United States. Often, what comes to mind when you hear the world Merlot are notes of red fruits, easy tannins, a velvety texture and a smooth finish. While it is often considered an “easy” drinking wine, Merlot can have concentrated, firm tannins that rival the best Cabernet Sauvignons. The majority of Merlot, however, is a lighter, fruitier wine that pairs well with a large variety of foods. Most Merlots feature flavors of:

  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Currants
  • Black cherries
  • Plums
  • Cassis
  • Chocolate

Merlots may also have hints of black olives, cedar, licorice and tobacco. The type of Merlot you drink will largely depend upon the climate in which it was grown. Cool climates yield a silky, soft-tannin Merlot while warmer climates lean towards a full-bodied, acidic Merlot. While Merlot is a joy to drink on its own, Resveralife has put together some foods that help bring out and enhance the flavors of Merlot.

Cheese platter and wine.

Cheese
Truthfully, Merlot and cheese are not the best pairing. Merlot pairs better with meatier, more substantial foods. However, that does not mean you can’t pair Merlot with cheeses. Here are some well-paired cheeses for Merlot:

  • Camembert
  • Smoked Cheddar
  • Gouda
  • Gruyere
  • Smoked Provolone
  • Parmesan

Juicy hamburger and fries.

Main Courses
Merlot is a highly versatile wine and pairs with a number of dinner options from hearty vegetarian dishes to meals featuring red meat. One of the easiest food pairings is a classic, thick and juicy hamburger. If you prefer a cheeseburger, add some medium sharp cheddar to your burger. Another relatively easy to make dish is classic spaghetti and meatballs. Not only are the meatballs a great accompaniment to Merlot, but the tomato sauce cuts through the acidity of Merlot as well. You can also create a charcuterie platter that features an assortment of smoked meats.

For vegetarians and others who enjoy main courses that use vegetables as the center, there are multiple Merlot pairings that you can create. One of the tastiest vegetarian dishes is to create a vegetable red curry. The vegetables you choose are completely up to you, but some suggestions are eggplant, potato, and asparagus. Another great vegetarian pairing for Merlot is eggplant rollatini. This blends creamy, tomato based sauce and eggplant for a dish that seems made for Merlot.

Dessert and wine

Sweets
As a general rule when pairing food and wine, desserts are paired with dessert wines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a Merlot with sweet foods. A fruit tray full of blackberries, red grapes, black cherries and plum is a perfect end to a meal served with Merlot. You could also serve Merlot with a creamy dark chocolate mousse topped with blackberries and raspberries.

Merlot is an incredibly popular wine worldwide and with the generous pairings the wine allows it is no surprise that people love to drink it. Experiment with Merlots produced in different climates for the full effect of what the Merlot grape is capable of. Remember that when it comes to wine and food, the most important rule to follow is to eat, and drink, what you like.

Chicken with parma ham and risotto.

Resveralife Eat Well: Get Healthy With These Food Pairings

Macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, wine and food – there are some foods that just seem to taste better when paired together. Of course, you have foods that you love to put together, but the food pairings can go far beyond providing a complimentary taste or texture. In fact, there are some food pairings that can actually significantly increase the nutritional value of your meal. Says Elaine Magee, D.R., “[f]ood synergy is when components within or between foods work together in the body for maximum health benefits…by eating foods that have a synergistic effect you can absorb more nutrients, gain control of your appetite and lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and weight-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes.” We did a little bit of digging to figure out what food pairings not only provide the largest amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, but also what food pairings genuinely taste great together. After all, you don’t get the nutritional benefits if you don’t actually eat the food. Resveralife’s favorite healthy food pairings are below.

Onions and grapes.

Onions and Grapes
We admit it, this healthy food pairing sounds pretty disgusting, but stay with us. Onions contain a particularly significant amount of quercetin, a plant-derived antioxidant. Quercetin provides cardiovascular protection by improving circulation. It has also been shown to help relieve or reduce symptoms of allergies. Grapes, a wealth of antioxidants, contain a polyphenol antioxidant called catechin. Catechin is a powerful antioxidant: it helps prevent against cardiovascular diseases, cancer and neurological disorders. An added bonus is that catechin may also help you lose weight. So, on their own these foods offer pretty impressive benefits. When combined they do all of the above in addition to preventing blood clots and providing a boost to your overall health. One of the tastiest ways to combine these two seemingly incompatible ingredients is to make a fresh chicken salad with sliced grapes and diced onions.

Blueberries and oatmeal.

Blueberries and Oatmeal
Grab a spoon and whip up this easy, and incredibly healthful, breakfast. For such a tiny fruit, blueberries pack a serious nutritional punch. Blueberries have a high concentration of ellagic acid, which is thought to fight certain cancers, and include vitamins C and K. Additionally, blueberries are a great source of fiber and vitamins C and K. Oatmeal is a whole grain and has high levels of avenanthramides – compounds that fight free radicals from damaging your LDL (good cholesterol) through oxidation. As whole grains they also help fight disease and inflammation in your body. When you combine blueberries and oatmeal, the vitamin C in blueberries significantly enhances the prevention of LDL oxidation.

Red beans and brown rice.

Red Kidney Beans and Brown Rice
A more appetizing sounding combination, red beans and rice are a great way to give your dinner more nutritional value. Brown rice is a whole grain that is naturally high fiber and magnesium. Red kidney beans have a ton of great nutrients: they contain protein, magnesium, potassium, fiber and vitamin B12. Eating red kidney beans helps to prevent heart disease, reduces blood pressure and stabilizes glucose levels.The reason these two ingredients form a great healthy food pairing is that when combined, red beans and brown rice form a complete protein. A protein is considered a complete protein when it contains certain levels of all nine amino acids. Red kidney beans and brown rice provide you with everything your body needs to function healthily.

Food pairings are nothing new, you’ve been making these decisions for years. However, being a bit more strategic about what foods are served together can not only create new flavors, but also increase your health. Spend some time figuring out the best way to combine healthy foods that you love. For instance, you don’t have to simply top your oatmeal with blueberries, consider making healthy oatmeal bars with fresh blueberries for an on-the-go breakfast. A healthier diet is definitely within your reach as you start creating healthy food pairings.