Green tea and citrus juice
Green tea is well known for its many health benefits, and we have catechins, its antioxidants, to thank for that.
Unfortunately, catechins don't do so well in our digestive system, so by the time it passes through the dietary tract, only less than 20 per cent of its compounds remain.
According to one American study, you can retain up to 80 per cent of catechins by adding some lemon juice to your drink.
Apparently, the vitamin C and other elements in the juice help stabilise catechins to prevent them from degradation.
Besides this tangy pairing, other citrus juices work too, though to a lesser extent. Orange juice trails a little behind, followed by lime and then grapefruit juice.
Veggies and olive oil
Toss your salads or stir-fry your veggies with some oil.
This could help absorption of seven micronutrients found in vegetables, including carotene, lycopene, vitamin A, E, and K, suggests a recent study by a scientist at Iowa State University.
According to Wendy White, the researcher and an associate professor of food science and human nutrition, upping the amount of oil used improves nutrient absorption, but sticking to the US dietary recommendation of two tablespoons of oil a day should suffice.
For this trial, Wendy experimented using soya bean oil, which is often used in commercial salad dressings.
Salads and eggs
Top off your salad with an egg. It tastes good, gives you protein, and also helps you absorb four to seven times more vitamin E from your salad.
Present in ingredients like nuts, seeds and avocado, vitamin E is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties, yet many of us don't get enough, suggests research by Purdue University in the US.
By pairing whole eggs with your greens, you'll be boosting your intake of vitamin E with one tasty and much-welcomed addition.
Cereals and milk
Sunlight helps our bodies produce more vitamin D, which is needed for calcium absorption.
But with more folks upping sunscreen SPF levels and spending more time indoors, our bodies sometimes can't make enough vitamin D for our needs.
You can up your levels of vitamin D by eating fatty fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel. It's also present in cheese and egg yolks.
Conveniently, vitamin D has also been added to common staples like dairy products, juice, soy milk and cereals, which makes your morning cereal and calcium-rich milk a perfect breakfast pairing.
Meat and veggies
Iron is needed to produce red blood cells, which transports oxygen through your body, fends of lethargy and improves your immunity.
Most women don't get enough, and it's especially important to have more during pregnancy.
Present in high amounts in meat and fish, and to a lesser extent, in vegetarian-friendly sources like legume, leafy greens and dried fruit, iron can be better absorbed if you serve it with foods rich in vitamin C, like a tomato soup, herb and citrus salad, bell pepper stir-fry, or cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower or brussel sprouts.
This article was first published in Shape