This must have happened many times that some food products taste horrible when eaten alone and tastes too good when combined with some other food products?
That’s the way nature has designed it for us. Nature has pre-planned the best food combination for us, it just takes the right time to know it! Well, it’s not just about the taste but, it is also about the nutrients which you get out of those food combinations!
Have you heard of food synergy? Different components in a single food can work together to benefit our health, and so can components in different foods that are eaten together. David Jacobs, PhD, a researcher from the University of Minnesota, loosely defines food synergy as the idea that food influences our health in complex and highly interactive ways. Simply put, Food synergy is nothing but nutrients that work together better.
It reminds us of how a variety of foods in our diet will help us live a healthy life! At GOQii we are celebrating Food Synergy….Let me take you through some food synergies that you adopt in your daily life.
(1) Rosemary and meat
Not many people must have heard about rosemary but, it is a very useful herb which is an excellent antioxidant having a good amount of carnosol and carnosic content. This herb is native to Mediterranean. People who cook non-veg might have no idea about what happens to the meat when it is cooked at a very high temperature. Well, when meat gets exposed to high temperature, carcinogenic compounds such as heterocyclic amine is formed which is very dangerous. If meat is marinated with rosemary herb, these carcinogenic compounds will be neutralized because of its antioxidant properties.
A study by Dr. J. Scott Smith of Kansas State University in Manhattan further endorses the above statements. He studied Heterocyclic Amines (HCA’s), which are carcinogenic compounds that form when meat is cooked at high temperatures. He found that adding rosemary extract to ground meat reduced the amount of cancer-causing compounds created during grilling. He attributed this to the antioxidants found in the rosemary extract.
(2) Green tea and lemon drop
Green Tea is a great elixir and did you know that by adding lemon to your cup of Green Tea you can reap a lot of benefits. Various studies have also proved this to be right. Catechins, the main health compound in tea tied to reduced risk of cancer, heart attack, and other diseases, unfortunately, isn’t absorbed very well in the intestines. After digestion, less than 20 percent of catechins remain.
In two studies, by Purdue University, researchers found that adding lemon juice, other citrus juice, or vitamin C helped the body absorb as much as 13 times the healthy catechins than normal. The addition of lemon juice caused 80 percent of the catechins to remain. The studies tested the effects of absorption with both rats and a human digestive model.
Lemon is rich in vitamin c (water soluble vitamin) and green tea is rich in antioxidant compounds such as catechin. When both of these are combined, lemon will increase the absorption of antioxidants making this combination the most widely used combination among people!
(3) Virgin Olive oil and tomatoes
How many of you are aware of the benefits of mixing Olive oil and tomatoes? I have seen many people using this combination mostly as their salad option. Why and how is it healthy we shall find out?
The bioavailability of olive oil and tomatoes is very high. These two Super Foods protect, energize and satiate; together, they amplify each other’s already extraordinary benefits. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which is a phytochemical/phytonutrient which will help in maintain heart health and can reduce the risk of having prostate cancer drastically. Tomatoes basically have carotenoids which are fat soluble and only with fat, these carotenoids would be available in the body. Virgin Olive oil is very rich in good fatty acids and there is nothing better than choosing olive oil as a support for better absorption of fat soluble vitamins.
Merritt Rosen who holds a Masters in Health and Consumer Psychology from New York University calls Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Tomatoes- the hottest power couple. According to her pairing virgin olive, oil and tomatoes are the best thing one can do. Not only does heart healthy EVOO protect cells against damage and inflammation and promote healthy skin from the inside out, it also helps ensure the absorption of these fat-soluble carotenoids.
(4) Milk and eggs
Did you know that Marilyn Monroe’s daily diet consisted of two raw eggs whipped in warm milk for breakfast? Rebecca Harrington, in an article in ‘The Cut’ magazine, quoted an old interview of Marilyn Monroe in 1952 to the now defunct Pageant Magazine in which Monroe describing her daily diet said, “I doubt any doctor could recommend a more nourishing breakfast for a working girl in a hurry.”
Milk and eggs are so far the best examples of perfect food synergy! There is nothing like having a glass of milk and boiled egg for your breakfast. Egg yolk is very rich in vitamin D and milk is rich in calcium. Vitamin D helps in increasing the calcium absorption which will keep your bones healthy and thus it reduces the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in the body.
(5) Garlic and Fish
Facing cholesterol issues? You must give this food synergy a try. For all non-vegetarians, this food synergy is a boon. Here is why it is a boon?
Garlic is rich in sulphur compounds which help in fighting diseases and fights against the inflammation in the body. Fish is a very rich source of protein. If these 2 super foods are combined together, their power of fighting diseases drastically increases.
Adding garlic to fish will help in lowering bad cholesterol and also maintain your triglyceride levels!
(6) Curcuma longa (turmeric) and pepper
There are many types of research and articles which are being published on benefits of turmeric. Although the therapeutic use of Curcuma was recorded as early as 1748, the first article referring to the use of curcumin in human disease was published in 1937 by Oppenheimer. In this study, the author examined the effects of “curcumin” or “curcunat” containing 0.1 g to 0.25 g sodium curcumin and 0.1 g calcium cholate in human biliary diseases.
Curcumin has various properties like lowering bad cholesterol, prevents cancer, boosting liver function and more. But, when it comes to its absorption, only curcumin might not benefit. Adding pepper to it will boost the absorption of curcumin ( the active ingredient in turmeric) and bring out major benefits to the body.
(7) Spinach and lemon drops
We might have heard about spinach being rich in iron and we should include it in our daily diet but we might not know that iron is spinach is not readily absorbed in the body. Absorption of iron is very poor but, if you add lemon drops to it, iron absorption will be increased. Vitamin c helps in increasing the absorption of iron in the food.
(8) Rice and vinegar
There are many myths about rice and one of them is that a diabetic should avoid taking rice. It is said that rice spikes up the sugar levels. Adding, vinegar to your rice will slow the blood sugar spike. So, diabetics can take rice to some extent and this is also good for people looking for weight loss and loves eating rice!
It is always good to know about food combinations which will help in boosting your health! Vitamin D & calcium and Iron and vitamin C combination must be taken care off. There are food combinations which should be avoided which will be covered up in my next blog. Until then stay tuned!