Though a popular and delectable dish that is consumed in many Indian states, palak and paneer is not really a healthy food combination, nutritionist Nmami Agarwal revealed in one of her Instagram videos.
“Healthy eating does not mean just eating the right food items. It means, eating the right food items in the right combination,” Agarwal said, adding that there are certain combinations that “inhibit the nutrient absorption of each other” when eaten together.
Calcium and iron is one such combination. According to the expert, spinach or palak is rich in iron and paneer is rich in calcium. “When these two food items are eaten together, calcium inhibits the nutrient absorption of iron. So, for maximum iron utilisation, have palak-aloo or palak-corn,” she suggested.
Sonia Bakshi, a nutritionist and founder of DtF agreed. She told indianexpress.com that calcium does inhibit the absorption of iron when taken together, because “both calcium and iron compete for the same receptors“.
“And this is why iron supplements should not be consumed with milk, tea, coffee or other dairy products. Tea or coffee should not be consumed with meals for the same reason. Lentils and beans are rich in iron and that is why curd should not be had with chole, rajma, and dal. Palak, which is rich in iron, should not be eaten with paneer,” she stated.
Dr Siddhant Bhargava, fitness and nutritional scientist and the co-founder of Food Darzee highlighted that contrary to what people may believe palak-paneer is indeed not as healthy a meal. He repeated what Agarwal said in the video — that palak-paneer is not the right combination.
“Certain foods do not sit together. They limit each other’s nutrition absorption abilities. One such combination is calcium and iron. In palak-paneer, the calcium present in paneer limits the absorption of heme and non-heme iron,” he told this outlet.