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Healthy Food Combinations to Maximize Life

Written By Bala Raju V on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | 12:50 AM

Oatmeal & Orange Juice 


A study from the Antioxidants Research Lab at the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that drinking vitamin C-rich orange juice while eating a bowl of real oatmeal (read: not processed) cleans your arteries and prevents heart attacks with two times as much efficacy than if you were to ingest either breakfast staple alone. The reason? The organic compounds in both foods, called phenols, stabilize your LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or so-called "bad" cholesterol) when consumed together. 

Almonds & Yogurt




We already know that good fats help increase lycopene absorption. But did you know that many essential vitamins are activated and absorbed best when eaten with fat?

Vitamins that are considered fat-soluble include A, D, and E. Carrots, broccoli, and peas are all loaded with vitamin A and should be paired with a healthy fat such as the kind found in olive oil. Vitamin D—rich products include fish, milk, yogurt, and orange juice. 


Lemon & Leafy Vegetables



"Vitamin C helps make plant-based iron more absorbable," says nutritionist Stacy Kennedy of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It actually converts much of the plant-based iron into a form that's similar to what's found in fish and red meats. (Iron carries oxygen to red blood cells, staving off muscle fatigue.) 



Kennedy suggests getting your vitamin C from citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli, and getting plant-based iron from leeks, beet greens, spinach, mustard greens, and fortified cereals.


So whether you're sautéing dark greens or making a salad, be sure to include a squeeze of citrus. You'll increase your immunity and muscle strength with more punch than by eating these foods separately.


 Apples & Chocolate



Apples, particularly Red Delicious, are known to be high in an anti-inflammatory flavonoid called quercetin, especially in their skins. By itself, quercetin has been shown to reduce the risk of allergies, heart attack, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and prostate and lung cancers.


Chocolate, grapes, red wine, and tea, on the other hand, contain the flavonoid catechin, an antioxidant that reduces the risks for atherosclerosis and cancer. Together, according to a study done by Barry Halliwell, Ph.D., a leading food science professor at the National University of Singapore, catechins and quercetin loosen clumpy blood platelets, improving cardiovascular health and providing anticoagulant activity.


Peanuts & Whole Wheat



According to Diane Birt, P.D., a professor at Iowa State University and a food synergy expert, the specific amino acids absent in wheat are actually present in peanuts. You need, and very rarely receive in one meal, the complete chain of amino acids (the best form of protein) to build and maintain muscle, especially as you get older. In short, while this combo exhibits only what Birt calls a "loose definition" of food synergy, it gives good evidence that a peanut-butter sandwich isn't junk food if it's prepared with whole-wheat bread (not white) and eaten in moderation (once a day).



So enjoy a peanut-butter sandwich right after a workout instead of drinking a terrible gym-rat shake. Just make sure the peanut butter doesn't have added sugar, chemical ingredients you can't pronounce, or cartoon characters on the label.


Turmeric & Black Pepper

 

A tangy yellow South Asian spice used in curry dishes, turmeric has long been studied for its anticancer properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and tumor-fighting activities known in nutrition-speak as anti-angiogenesis. The active agent in the spice is a plant chemical, or polyphenol, called curcumin.


One of the problems with using turmeric to improve your health, according to Kennedy, is its low bioavailability when eaten on its own. But there's a solution, and it's probably in your pantry.

"Adding black pepper to turmeric or turmeric-spiced food enhances curcumin's bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper's hot property called piperine," says Kennedy. "This is one reason it's thought that curry has both turmeric (curcumin) and black pepper combined." Translation: You'll get the benefits of turmeric if you pepper up your curries.


Garlic & Fish

 
Most seafood lovers don't realize there's a synergy of nutrients inside a piece of fish: Minerals such as zinc, iron, copper, iodine, and selenium work as cofactors to make the best use of the natural anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-reducing fish oils EPA and DHA.



What's more, cooking your fish with garlic lowers your total cholesterol better than eating those fillets or cloves alone. A study at University of Guelph, in Ontario, found that garlic keeps down the small increase in LDL cholesterol that might result from fish-oil supplements. 


Eggs & muskmelon (India)



The most popular (and an awfully complete form of) breakfast protein works even better for you when you eat it with the good carbohydrates in your morning
muskmelon .

According to Kennedy, a very basic food synergy is the concept of eating protein with foods that contain beneficial carbohydrates, which we need for energy. Protein, Kennedy reminds us, slows the absorption of glucose, or sugar, from carbohydrates.



"This synergy helps by minimizing insulin and blood-sugar spikes, which are followed by a crash, zapping energy. High insulin levels are connected with inflammation, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. By slowing the absorption of glucose, your body can better read the cues that you are full. This helps prevent everything from overeating to indigestion."

So cut as many bad carbs (i.e., anything white, starchy, and sugary) as you want. But when you eat healthful carbs (whole grains, fruit, vegetables), don't eat them on their own.


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