Food Synergy – Nutrients That Should Be Eaten Together

David Jacobs, PhDWhat is food synergy? Researcher David Jacobs, PhD, at the University of Minnesota, defines food synergy as the idea that food influences our health in complex and highly interactive ways. It is working together to create greater health effects.

Food synergy is a very good thing. When certain foods are eaten together, rather than a singular dietary component or nutrient, they can provide unexpected health benefits, as research suggests.

As well as you get into a healthy habit of eating a variety of whole foods.

And eating food as close to its natural form as possible is by far our best bet for improving health and preventing disease.

Donna Gates creator of Body Ecology DietDonna Gates creator of the website, Body Ecology Diet and digestion specialist writes, not you are what you eat, but rather – You are what you digest. Gates says that poor food combinations can wreak havoc on your gut.

Bad food combinations can cause a reduction in your body’s nutrient absorption, lowered immune system, accelerate aging, and lead to weight gain.

Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of the book The Happiness Diet says, “Combining whole, natural foods regularly, amplifies their health benefits via synergistic effects.”


What About Supplements

What About Supplements

Supplements are exactly that, supplements. Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.

Elizabeth Pivonka, PhD, RDElizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president of Produce for Better Health Foundation says that isolating individual nutrients, vitamins or phytonutrients in a pill provides a narrow line of defense against health problems.

She says that the whole is greater than the parts, and research shows the health benefits obtained from a diet rich in whole foods has far more to offer than any supplement.

Research is beginning to reveal that supplements may not be as effective as whole foods in disease prevention because the benefits derived from individual nutrients, vitamins or phytonutrients obtain their greatest effectiveness only when naturally coupled with other nutrients existing in the whole food.

The NIH or National Institutes Of Health says this in respects to supplements, “If you don’t eat a nutritious variety of foods, some supplements might help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. However, supplements can’t take the place of the variety of foods that are important to a healthy diet.”

While this is true, there are some supplements that are worth taking. These include trace minerals, digestive enzymes, vitamin D, calcium, probiotics, and the B-vitamin complex.

How To Enact Food Synergy

How To Enact Food Synergy

As we have seen thus far, there are health advantages to mixing and matching your food choices.

The following are a few examples of food synergy, or pairing foods together that will increase the nutritional value of your meals and your body’s health.

Salmon-teriyaki-with-broccoli-and-tomatoesFish + Broccoli

Fish contains the mineral selenium, and broccoli is rich in a disease-fighting compound known as sulforaphane.

Research shows that selenium and sulforaphane together are 13 times more effective at slowing cancer cell growth than when eaten alone.

Bananas + Yogurt

Bananas contain inulin; research indicates inulin fuels the growth of yogurt’s healthy bacteria, which helps regulate digestion and boost immunity.

Tomatoes + Olive Oil or Cheese

Cancer- and heart disease-fighting compounds called carotenoids (the most well-known of which is lycopene) are found in abundance in tomatoes. Because they’re fat-soluble, they’re more available to our bodies when
we eat them with fats such as olive oil or mozzarella.

rice and vinegar - food synergyVinegar + Rice

Vinegar decreases rice’s ability to raise blood sugar levels by 20 to 40 percent.

The European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition reported that adding vinegar to the meal when eating white wheat bread reduced postprandial responses of blood glucose and insulin, and increased the subjective rating of satiety.

It also stated that the higher the acetic acid level in the vinegar, the lower the metabolic responses.

Consider eating a stir-fry with a vinegar based sauce or a brown rice casserole with a salad and vinegar dressing.

Apples and Cranberries - food synergyApples + Cranberries

These two fruits, apples and cranberries are rich in a wide variety of antioxidants, including quercetin and anthocyanidins.

Research has shown that when we eat these foods together, their antioxidant activity is significantly higher than if we eat the foods separately.

Green Tea+ Lemon

The vitamin-C in lemons help make the catechins (a type of antioxidant) in green tea more available to the body.

Catchins have shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. In addition to this, they are able to prevent the activity of free radicals, the molecules that cause cellular damage that can lead to cancer.

The antioxidant is also found in red wine, dark chocolate, and apples.

Raspberries + Chocolate

Scientists have discovered that quercetin in raspberries and the catechins in chocolate when are paired together, are more effective at thinning the blood and improving heart health.

Yellow turmeric and pepper corns on spoonsTurmeric + Black Pepper

The spice turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties.

There are on going studies for its potential to fight cancer, improve liver function, lower cholesterol and stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

When combined with black pepper, the body can absorb 1,000 times more curcumin (turmeric’s active ingredient) than when turmeric is consumed alone.

Blueberries + Walnuts

Blueberries contain phytochemicals known as anthocyanins that protect the brain from oxidative damage.

Walnuts are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that help with the brains cognition.

Research has shown that these compounds are even more powerful at sharpening memory and improving communication between brain cells when they are consumed  together.

Whole Grain Bread+ Almond Butter

Whole grains and almonds are both incomplete protein sources, meaning they don’t contain all nine essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. However, they complement each other and form a complete protein source when consumed together.

Essential amino acids are needed by the body to build bones, muscles and hormones.

You can also consume almonds and garbanzo beans for the same synergistic effect.

Chicken + Carrots

Chicken and Carrots - food synergyChicken contains zinc, which is what our bodies need to efficiently metabolize the beta-carotene in carrots into vitamin A, a nutrient we need for healthy skin, strong eyes and a robust immune system.

Another food to combined with carrots is hummus. Protein and healthy carbs can help to curb your hunger and give you an extra boost of energy.

Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are high in protein. Combined with a high quality carbohydrate like carrots, also provides soluble fiber, which slows digestion, leaving you fuller for longer.

Garlic + Onions

Rosemary and Steak - food synergyThe organosulfur compounds in garlic and onions are more powerful in combination than alone. Together, they help remove plaque from arteries and keep blood vessels flexible and healthy.

Rosemary + Steak

Marinate your steak with rosemary before cooking. Why? This herb is rich in antioxidants such as rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid.

Researchers at Kansas State University found that these antioxidants found in rosemary help to inhibit the formation of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) that form when meat, fish, or poultry are cooked at temperatures above 325 degrees.

Vegetables + Dietary Fat

Eating a little good dietary fat along with your vegetables helps your body absorb their protective phytochemicals, like lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark-green vegetables.

A recent study measured how well phytochemicals were absorbed after people ate a salad with leafy greens, carrots, and spinach with or without 2 1/2 tablespoons of avocado.

The group that ate the salad with the avocado absorbed 8.3 times more alpha-carotene and 13.6 times more beta-carotene, and 4.3 times more lutein than those who did not eat avocados.

Both alpha-carotene and beta-carotene help protect against cancer and heart disease. And lutein protects your eye sight.

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