What fruits go well together?

When it comes to fruit combination, three factors usually dictate what goes into the fruit salad bowl (or blender) and what doesn’t.

And ranking them hierarchically, second on the list is nutrition; which tells us the ultimate fruit pairing to get the most in terms of nutrition.

At the bottom of the list is personal preference, which is the undeniable rights accorded to your taste buds to feel a certain way about fruits paired together.

And ahead of the two factors is the first, which is well-being; which dictates the healthiest fruit combination to prevent any possible repercussions should anyone choose to go otherwise.

Without any doubt, the first, well-being, should be the most important factor to consider when paring up fruits for the fruit salad at nine or a hearty milkshake before bed.

And, because of this, we’ll be taking the “food combination’s fruit typing” approach to pairing fruits first, and then discuss the “more lenient mainstream approach” for fruit pairing later.

If you like also, you can proceed with your own pairing in terms of nutrition or personal preference. Your world, your choice!

When it comes to healthy fruit pairing, basic food combination guideline suggest that you eat acid, sub-acid, sweet, and melon fruits separately, as a meal, and also on an empty stomach, for example as breakfast food in the morning.

This practice is expected to prevent undesirable side effects such as bloating or stomach discomfort.

Within each category also, fruits with similar characteristics and qualities are expected to harmonize well in comparison to those having dissimilar qualities.

So for anyone trying to play the flavor and health game safe, food combination folks recommended that you sort out fruits (in their different categories) based on similarities in qualities.

Before we proceed however, it’s important for the reader to understand that food combination: which is an old approach that advocates and advices against specific food combination for better version of health, improved digestion and also weight loss, is mostly supported by anecdotal evidences, with little research to back it up.

And it’s stance as the better alternative to a balanced diet (the more lenient mainstream approach) has never been established. (And vice versa).

So the rules laid out on this article may still be broken by an overwhelming majority with zero side effects, because food combination’s “fruit typing” rules may as well be another 21st century hoax!

Coming over to my choice of centering the article on food combination’s fruit typing rules, the reason is simple.

I think it’s the safest route to follow. Whether or not you wish to cross pair fruits and deal with the postulated bloating, bacterial imbalance and stomach discomfort is then up to you.

Below we take an in depth look at the various categorization of fruits according to food combination.

The Acid Fruits

While no food combination guide has given any proper definition(s) for the term acid fruit, i suppose it means fruits that have their pulp or juice indicating an acid reaction when tested chemically.

I would therefore shallowly suggest a good majority of them can be identified by their tart flavor profile.

The general consensus by the food combination community is that acid fruits, in general, should not be paired up with sweet fruits, be it in smoothies or fruit salads.

One reason cited for this is that the acid fruits may delay the digestion of sweet fruits in the body, causing symptoms like gas or stomach discomfort, but i’m yet to find any credible study that proves the validity of such claim.

Food combination do fairly advocate the pairing up of fruits having similar digestion times; whatever that means, and also acid fruit with sub-acid fruits.

Acid fruits (according to fruit combination guide) include:

  1. Orange
  2. Grapefruit
  3. Pomegranate
  4. Strawberry
  5. Pineapple
  6. Tangerine
  7. Lemon
  8. Lime
  9. Kumquat
  10. Kiwi

How to pair acid fruits:

When it comes to pairing up acid fruits, here is the one thing to bear at the back of your mind according to fruit combination:

The more closely related the fruits are, the softer and less vague the final flavor profile becomes, especially in fruit salad. And the more distant with respect to qualities and botanical characteristics the fruits are, the harsher, and deeper the flavor profile turns out.

This means that pairing up citrus and citrus will most likely give you a citrus-ish smoothie, fruit salad or fruit juice, whereas pairing up citrus and grapefruit or say, kumquat or pomegranate will deliver a much deeper flavor profile which may or may not be a desirable thing.

With this basic principle in mind, you can now be somewhat guided in your next fruit pairing.

Here’s a quick list of acid fruit combos to get you started.

s/n Acid Fruit What fruits go well together (in salad, smoothies, and fruit juice)
1 Orange Raspberry, Avocado, Pineapple, Tangerine, Mango, raspberries, pomegranate.
2 Pomegranate Orange, pears, apples, kiwi.
3 Plum Strawberry, peach, cherries, nectarines, apricot, mango, orange.
4 Grapefruit Blueberry, pineapple, pomegranate, mango, kiwi, blueberries.
5 Pineapple Kiwi, grape, blueberries, strawberries, orange
  1. For fruit salad and crumble, fruits with similarly qualities combine best.
  2. For smoothies and fruit juice, any fruit should do just fine.

The Sweet Fruits

Like acid fruits, no clear definition has been given to explain what sweet fruits mean in all the food combination guide’s i’ve stumbled upon.

I would therefore suggest it means fruits that occupy the opposite end of the spectrum that acid fruits do. In other words, fruits that are alkaline when tested, which are mostly soft flavored.

Sweet fruits include:

  1. All dried fruits.
  2. Ripe banana
  3. Dates
  4. Sapote
  5. Papaya
  6. Fresh Figs
  7. Thompson grapes
  8. Muscat Grapes
  9. Persimmon
  10. Avocado

The same pairing principle of acid fruit also applies here.

s/n Sweet Fruit What fruits go well together (in salad, smoothies, and fruit juice)
1 Banana Raspberry, strawberries, papaya, blueberries, apple,
2 Figs Pear, dates, plum, papaya.
3 Sweet Grapes Strawberry, blueberries, raspberries, apple, banana.
4 Persimmon Blueberry, cranberries.
5 Date Figs, persimmon, banana, papaya.


The Sub-acid Fruits

Sub acid fruits are fruits sitting somewhere between acid fruits and sweet fruits. And by virtue of their median state, they pair perfectly well with the other two categories in terms of flavor, but like the other categories, they are best consumed on their own.

Sub acid fruits include:

  1. Mango
  2. Apricot
  3. Peach
  4. Nectarine
  5. Most grapes
  6. Apple
  7. Pear
  8. Cherry
  9. Berries
  10. Plum

The same pairing principle of acid fruit also applies here.

s/n Sub acid Fruit What fruits go well together (in salad, smoothies, and fruit juice)
1 Apple Raspberry, peach, pear, strawberry, orange, tangerines, pineapple.
2 Mango Banana, peach, pear, blueberries, dragon fruit, avocado.
3 Strawberry Banana, peaches, orange, mango, apple.
4 Pear Blueberry, apple, pineapple, orange, banana.
5 Dragon Fruit Raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, banana, starfruit.

Quick Note:

  1. In most food combination guides, there seems to be some discrepancies in the categorization of some fruits as acid or sub acid.

Melons? Why do they occupy a separate class of their own?

Food combination guideline categorize melons under a distinct class of their own and slaps the tagline “they typically do not like being paired up with other fruits” across them.

The reason, they say, can be attributed to their quick rate of decomposition which happens when they are cut open and left to sit in a warm place, and overall, due to their rather pacey rate of digestion even compared to other fruits.

Here’s why food combos think this could be a problem.

Whenever melon is paired up with another fruit, there’s an automatic lead generated in the race for digestion between the two fruits, which is in favor of the melon – because it digests much faster.

But due to the pairing now, the rate of digestion of melon is now tied down to match that of the other fruit. And often, a problem is incurred since the melon is held in the stomach for far too long than required, causing it decompose by virtue of its quick rate of decomposition as outlined above.

This results in the formation of too much gas and therefore the causation of discomfort.

So in general, food combo’s advice (but not strictly advice) to eat melons as a meal on their own.

Examples of melons include:

  1. Banana melon
  2. Watermelon
  3. Cantaloupe
  4. Casaba
  5. Honeydew

A recap of the golden rules for fruit typing:

  1. Pair fruits of the same category and the same botanical characteristics when you’re not after a wild flavor. Do the opposite for a vaguer flavor profile.
  2. For different categories, play safe by pairing soft flavor fruit profile together. Go down the bottom of the pyramid for wilder experience.
  3. Combine only 4 to 6 different fruits in a salad, smoothie or juice for digestive reasons.

Breaking the rules

Here’s the truth, while food combination’s fruit typing rules might seem like a perfectly laid out guidance. It actually stops being so the moment we dive in for a deeper look.

The problem comes from the acid and sub-acid fruit categorization.

Here’s what fruit typing rule typically sates: Don’t combine acid fruits with sweet fruits but combine them with sub-acid fruits.

Meanwhile, there’s a serious clash regarding the list that constitutes acid fruit and sub-acid fruit for most guides out there.

Many guides conflict what makes up their acid and sub acid fruits, which should never be the case for an approach that strictly forbids the mixing of fruits from the two categories.

Anyways, the following is the mainstream approach for combining fruits together. The table outlines fruits on the left and the best possible combinations with them on the right.

s/n Fruit What fruit goes well together
1 Apple Orange, Almond, Aproicot, Mango
2 Peach Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry.
3 Pineapple Coconut, Mango, Orange, Banana.
4 Pear Peach, Blueberry, Raspberry, Apple, Citrus.
5 Strawberry Melon, Banana, Apple, Pineapple, Orange.
6 Grape Pear, Almond, Appel, Tangerine.
7 Banana Pineapple, Watermelon, Orange, Strawberry.

Final Verdict

When it comes to fruits that go well together, you may choose to follow the food combination principle that say’s only the individual fruits that make up either of the four fruits groups which are acid, sub acid, sweet and melon fruits can be paired together, or sometimes cross paired, or follow what the more lenient mainstream guide suggest; which is that most fruits, regardless of class, can be paired up together, so long they harmonize well and science hasn’t proven the combo to be deadly.