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Powerful Food Pairings That Fight for Your Health

These disease-fighting combos are greater than the sum of their nutritional parts.

Combo 6 - Salad Greens and Almonds

Fights: Cataracts, cancer, heart disease

Brightly colored vegetables are rich in plant pigments that can reduce your risk of heart disease, cataracts, and cancer. However, they need to be eaten with a small amount of absorption-boosting monounsaturated fat, such as that found in almonds or avocados.

An Ohio State University study measured how well phytochemicals from a mixed green salad were absorbed when eaten with or without 31⁄2 tbsp of avocado. The avocado’s fatty acids helped subjects absorb 8.3 times more alpha-carotene, 13.6 times more beta-carotene, and 4.3 times more lutein than those who ate their salads plain.

“This is a great argument against fat-free salad dressings,” says Magee, who also suggests adding sliced almonds to salads. “When plant sterols are combined with almonds, the LDL cholesterol-lowering effect is greater than with plant sterols alone.”

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