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.

Red wine and antipasto.

Resveralife Live Well: Our Favorite Wine Pairings

When it comes to pairing food with wine, many people feel completely and utterly intimidated. However, you don’t have to worry about doing something “right” or “wrong” when it comes to pairing foods with wines. The number one rule when it comes to food and wine pairings is to pair what you like. If you are looking for a little guidance, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite wine pairings.

Champagne and caviar.

Champagne and Caviar
Yes it may sound a bit snobby, but there is a reason that champagne and caviar have been paired together since ancient Russian Czars paired these two together. Champagne can pair easily with almost any dish because it has a lower alcohol content, bubbly texture and a refreshing, not overpowering, acidity. Caviar by itself can be an acquired taste as it is salty, oily and has an entirely unique texture. But when put together, Champagne is absolutely perfect for caviar because the acidity of the Champagne helps dissolve any weird, overwhelming fishy tastes. This crisp, refreshing pairing is a truly classic food and wine pairing.

Sauternes and Foie Gras.

Sauternes and Foie Gras
Another classic food and wine pairing is a rich Sauternes and foie gras. Sauternes is produced in the Sauternes region of France using the Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The result is an impressively sweet wine with flavors and notes of peaches, apricots and honey. The sweetness of this wine is a result of the “noble mold,” Botrytis. Botrytis does not occur everywhere in the world, as it is produced when moisture meets the sun at the precisely correct time to create the perfect mold. Foie gras is a delicacy made from livers of ducks or geese. The result is a remarkably rich dish that requires a rich wine to meet its own richness. The sweetness of a good Sauternes cut through the rich foie gras to create an impeccable pairing. It is important to note that Sauternes can be quite a bit more expensive than other wine varieties because of the rareness of Botrytis.

Chardonnay and lobster.

Chardonnay and Lobster
Chardonnay is a rich, buttery wine produced around the world. California Chardonnays feature the aforementioned buttery richness and tropical fruit. The result is a big, rich Chardonnay. Lobster is a bit heavier than most seafood, so it requires a wine that has more weight than other seafood while still complimenting flavors of lobster. Additionally, lobster is most commonly served alongside a large amount of melted butter, which requires a special wine as well. The Chardonnays produced in California are buttery enough to stand up to lobster yet sweet enough to compliment lobster perfectly.

Some basic wine pairing tips are:

  • Generally speaking, wine should match the color of the meat
  • High tannin wines require rich, meaty foods
  • Wines that feature earthy flavors go well with foods that have earthy flavors
  • Salads tend to work well with wines that are high in acidity
  • Dessert wines should be a sweeter wine

As we mentioned before, the perfect pairing for you is a wine and a food that you love. For the most intense flavor combination, take a bite of your food, a sip of your wine and chew together to create entirely new flavors and textures.