A new concept of multiplying the benefits of food nutrition is gaining popularity. Food synergy is the pairing of foods together to enhance the nutritional impact of each.
Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, has written a book Food Synergy that deals with food pairing to promote the next level of healthy eating.
It is evident that certain components in the foods and beverages we consume (like minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals, fiber, and fats) interact with each other to give our bodies extra disease protection and a higher level of health. There are all types of food synergy, from different nutrients that are found together in the same whole food, to nutrients in different foods that work better together, to the synergy in certain dietary patterns. The following are some of the synergistic pairing of food.
Spinach & lemon - Spinach contains a substantial amount of iron. It is even better for you when you sprinkle it with lemon juice which will help your body absorb the iron more efficiently.
Broccoli & tomatoes - Broccoli is a healthy food whether cooked or eaten raw. Add a tomato with broccoli and it become healthier. Besides this pairing fights against cancer.
Tomatoes & olive oil - Tomatoes contain the fat-soluble antioxidants lycopene and carotenoids. They pair perfectly with olive oil that helps control cholesterol, blood pressure, and the growth of cancer.
Fish & curry powder – The heart-healthy omega-3 in fish as well as the fats DHA and EPA have been found to reduce cancer risk. The fish becomes more effective when used with curry powder.
Garlic & onions - The synergy of garlic and onions improves heart health. The nutrients in garlic combined with the nutrients in onions protect the heart by keeping arteries flexible and clear of plaque damage.
Mixed berries – Fresh berries are healthy when eaten by themselves, but are more nutritious when blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are eaten together.
Apples & apple peel - Do not peel your apple. The apple flesh works best with the apple peel. In fact, most of the apple’s anticancer properties are in the peel. Together this pair reduces the risk of cancer.
Alfalfa sprouts & cherries – Combine alfalfa sprouts and cherries to lower cholesterol. This pairing has a strong antioxidant synergy that may help reduce oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It could be the flavonoids from the sprouts working together with vitamin C from the cherries.
Flaxseed & soybeans – Flaxseed and soybeans fight breast cancer when eaten together. The combination of soy and flaxseed may be more beneficial than soy alone in controlling breast cancer growth.
Tofu & tea - There is reason people in Asian countries eat soy products and drink tea regularly. This combination has a powerful effect on the risk of cancer. Prostate and breast cancer are slightly lower in the Asian countries than in the United States. Green tea or black tea along with tofu is good food synergy.
Peppers & artichokes - By combining foods containing iron such as green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, artichokes, and legumes with those packed with vitamin C such as tomatoes, peppers, and citrus helps the body absorb iron more efficiently.
Green tea & lemon - Adding lemon to green tea makes the nutrients five times stronger. If you drink green tea when you eat fish, it will block mercury from entering your bloodstream.
Avocados & tomatoes - The monounsaturated fat in avocados boosts the cancer. The fighting properties of lycopene in tomatoes make it at least four times more effective.
Bananas & yogurt – Eating bananas and yogurt helps with the absorption of muscle-repairing glucose and amino acids.
Dark chocolate & apples - Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, and apples contain quercetin, an anti-inflammatory for a healthy heart. Not only is this combination a treat, the two foods also fight blood clots, improve circulation and reduces chances of heart disease.
Turmeric & black pepper – Black pepper significantly increases the bioavailability of curcumin, the dominant compound in turmeric. That’s why, in supplement form, curcumin and turmeric are both prepared with black pepper extract or piperine, a compound of pepper.
Garlic & fish – Garlic on its own may fight some cancers and is a natural immunity booster. However, cooking up a garlicky seafood dish could do your heart a bigger favor and lower total cholesterol. Garlic can also prevent the increase in LDL or “bad” cholesterol that some people see when they take fish oil supplements.
Oatmeal & orange juice – Studies show that drinking vitamin C-rich orange juice while eating a bowl of real oatmeal cleans your arteries and prevents heart attacks. The organic compounds in both foods, called phenols, stabilize your LDL cholesterol when consumed together.
Almonds & yogurt – 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. So toss some almonds into your yogurt, eat full-fat dairy foods, and pair your morning dish with a slice of bacon. To get the most, vitamin E with fat-soluble foods, try baked sweet-potato slices or spinach salad topped with olive oil.