7 Foods You Should Never Eat By Themselves

Updated: Mar. 12, 2024

Eat these snacks solo? You may be missing out on important health benefits.

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Bananas: Pair with milk

Got tummy problems? Get bananas. The yellow fruit is a good source of inulin, a type of fiber that helps balance “good” bacteria levels in your digestive system. Even more, it enhances calcium absorption, benefiting your bones. Pair your ‘nana with good sources of calcium, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, and kale, to promote bone health. A perfect breakfast combo: Add sliced bananas to cereal with skim milk.

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Strawberries: Eat with peanut butter

Vitamin E promotes healthy eyes and may help prevent macular degeneration (a cause of blindness). Vitamin C boosts the power of vitamin E, putting it into a form that helps your body use it best. Pair sources of vitamin C—such as strawberries, citrus fruits, and tomatoes—with a good source of vitamin E—such as peanuts/peanut butter, almonds/almond butter, and sunflower seeds/sunflower butter. (We love Once Again sunflower butter!)

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Broccoli: Serve with mustard

Broccoli is a good source of sulforaphane, a cancer-fighting compound. Unfortunately, cooking the greens destroys myrosinase, an enzyme that makes sulforaphane available to your body. To replace the myrosinase, combine broccoli with mustard or another raw cruciferous vegetable, such as arugula. The extra myrosinase helps your body absorb more sulforaphane, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

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Coffee: Sip with sugar

Take your coffee with sugar? Don’t stop. When you drink coffee with sugar, it makes you more productive, according to a small study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. When participants consumed coffee and sugar together, areas of the brain associated with attention were more efficient than when they drank java solo. Tea drinkers: Try adding a drizzle of honey.

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Apples: Munch with green tea

If you ask us, the perfect afternoon snack is a cup of tea and sliced fruit. For a particular health boost, make it green tea and apples. Research has found that the phytochemicals quercetin (found mostly in apples, berries, and onions) and catechin (found in green tea and purple grapes) work together to prevent blood platelets from clumping together. When platelets clump, it can contribute to blood clotting and lead to a heart attack.

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Onions: Have with bread

The next time you grab a morning whole-grain bagel, ask for a few slices of onion on the cream cheese. Onions and garlic have sulfur compounds that increase absorption of zinc, a nutrient important for immunity and wound healing found in whole-grain foods and legumes. Another good (and easy!) pairing: garlic hummus.

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Carrots: Eat with avocado

You probably already know that beta-carotene is good for you (hello, youthful skin and healthy eyes), but you might not have known your body needs fat to absorb it. Eat sources of beta-carotene, such as carrots, cantaloupe, kale, and spinach, with fat, such as avocado, walnuts, olive oil, and almonds. Dip your carrots in guacamole or hummus (made with olive oil) for a simple snack.