Alas, just when you think you've cracked the code, there is more to healthy eating than simply choosing to consume nutrient-dense foods. Now, there is a science to pairing certain foods together to increase their effectiveness. What's the use of a so-called "healthy" food if your body isn't appropriately absorbing its nutrients? Luckily, there are tricks to getting the most from what you eat and that involves pairing certain foods with other select foods. Here are 5 food combining suggestions that allow for easier access to the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals your body desires. Bonus: It's no surprise that these combinations taste ah-mazing together too!
1. Tomatoes and Avocado
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their bright red color. A healthy fat, such as avocado, helps the lycopene to become more absorbable by the human body. In one study conducted by Ohio State University, researchers found that test subjects who consumed salsa with avocado absorbed four-times more lycopene than subjects who ate the salsa by itself.
2. Turmeric and Black Pepper
Turmeric is a panacea of sorts. The spice treats rheumatoid arthritis, skin cancer, small pox, chicken pox, wounds, urinary tract infections, liver problems, digestive disorder, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, inflammation and colon cancer, among many other ailments. Turmeric’s bioactive compound curcumin is what makes all of these benefits possible. Pairing black pepper and turmeric together can boost blood levels of the curcumin in turmeric up to 2000 percent.
3. Fish and Red Wine
Food combing based on nutrient absorption just got more interesting! Red wine goes with anything in my book, but perhaps even better with fish. One study shows that the polyphenols – antioxidants in red wine -- protect omega-3 fatty acids from breaking down. By pairing a glass of red one with a fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna or herring, may raise the body’s omega-3 fatty acids level and thus improve heart health.
4. Green Tea and Lemon Juice
Green tea is touted as an anti-aging elixir due to its flavonoid antioxidants called catechins. Green tea catechins improve blood pressure, prevent and improve Alzheimer’s disease, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, may accelerate body fat oxidation and improve cognitive function. The vitamin C found in many citrus fruits, including lemon juice, has been shown to effectively increase the absorption of antioxidants found in green tea, so the benefits of green tea are more potent and better felt.
5. Leafy Greens and Olive Oil
Lower blood pressure by pairing leafy greens with olive oil. Olive oil’s unsaturated fatty acids join forces with green leaves’ nitrites to lower blood pressure. A study led by King’s College London witnessed just that, supporting the protective effects offered by the Mediterranean diet.
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Photo Credit: Meal Makeover Moms