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The Ones For Wellness: Pairing Certain Foods Can Pack Nutritional Punch

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As more people are choosing plant-based diets, nutritionists say pairing certain foods pack more than just taste.

Peanut butter and jelly, berries and yogurt and black beans and green peppers come to mind.

Some combinations are delicious and good for you as well.

"There are a lot of plant-based foods we can do and there's a lot of variety," said Brittney Bearden, a nutritionist with Texas Health Resources.

She said trends like Plant Proof 40 has increased consumption of fruits and veggies.

For optimum absorption of nutrients, she said it's important to get the right combination of foods.

"Black beans is an iron source.  We can pair that with a vitamin C food," she said.

Iron is absorbed better when paired with Vitamin C.

"If we had a fajita or a burrito bowl, with black beans, we could saute bell peppers in with that to help promote the absorption of iron."

Most plant foods are missing one or more essential proteins called amino acids.

Pairing complimentary foods can form a complete protein, like rice and beans or hummus and pita.

"You want to be creative and be wise on how you mix and match your different plant foods," she said.

Fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K are better absorbed with a fat source.

That's where PB & J with a glass of milk would pack those vitamins.

Regardless of how you pair foods, Bearden says eating more plants and veggies is good for you.

"Plant provide a lot of good nutrients. One of them in fiber. It promotes a healthy digestive system. It helps keep you feeling full," she said.

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