Food Synergy

Nutrition facts by a registered dietitianfor superfoods, vitamin absorption and moreWhat is food synergy? Food synergy is the concept that pairing certain foods together will enhance the nutritional impact for your body. We won’t get into the full sciencey-stuff, but when two nutrients are eaten together they enhance the absorption of nutrients or provide the body with more physiological effects. 

Certain nutrients come together with others to cultivate a power duo and increase the bioavailability of both those nutrients in the body. 

The Power Duos You’ve Been Waiting For:


Nonheme Iron and Vitamin C: Nonheme iron, or plant based iron, isn’t as readily absorbed as heme iron, AKA iron from animal sources. Vitamin C enhances the body’s ability to absorb plant-based iron sources.


  • Nonheme iron sources: fortified cereals, whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts, tofu, chickpeas, tempeh, pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Vitamin C sources: oranges, lemons, bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, papayas, and dark green or yellow vegetables

Meal ideas including this power duo:

  • Smashed avocado and sliced tomato on whole wheat toast
  • Oatmeal topped with strawberries and pumpkin seeds
  • Brown rice bowl with sautéed bell peppers, yellow squash, and tomatoes (+chicken for extra protein!)
  • Salad with tofu and sunflower seeds included


Calcium and Vitamin D: Vitamin D and calcium help us build strong, healthy bones. This is especially important as women, and a focus between ages 16-35, because our peak bone mass is at age 24…. And we have the opportunity to improve our bone mass through food and exercise! When consuming this power duo together, it helps enhance the absorption of calcium.


  • Calcium sources: dairy products, fortified dairy free milks, fortified cereals, soybeans, legumes, dark & leafy greens, salmon, sesame and chia seeds, almonds, tofu, figs, whey protein powder
  • Vitamin D sources: egg yolks, salmon, tuna, swordfish, fortified orange juice, sardines, fortified dairy products.
  • Note: Many dairy products (rich in calcium) are often fortified with vitamin D as well! A combo made for strong bones! 

Meal ideas including this power duo:

  • Salmon with a side of bok choy and broccoli 
  • Scrambled eggs with cheese
  • Chia seed pudding (made with yogurt or milk)
  • Fortified cereals with milk
  • Protein shake with milk and whey protein
  • Salad with legumes and tofu


Vitamin A and Fat Source: Vitamin A is one of the fat soluble vitamins, along with vitamins D, E, and K. Vitamin A’s roles in the body include cell division/reproduction, improving the immune system, helping maintain healthy hair/skin/nails, and more! How do we ensure we maximize the absorption of this vitamin? Since it is a fat soluble vitamin, it is important to consume it with a source of fat which will optimize and enhance absorption– not just Vitamin A, but all the fat-soluble vitamins! By consuming a fat source with these vitamins, it helps our body’s get all the benefits from each of these vitamins.


  • Vitamin A sources: dark leafy greens, apricots, carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangoes, tomatoes, red bell peppers, fortified milk, eggs, liver, avocado
  • Healthy Fat Sources:  avocado, nuts, nut butters, seeds, olive oil, coconut, salmon, trout, sardines, olives, olive oil, greek yogurt

Meal Ideas including this power duo:

  • Greek yogurt topped with nuts and apricots
  • Avocado toast topped with an egg
  • Guacamole made with tomatoes 
  • Sweet potato brownies