Why do you pair your toast with milk? Why do you squeeze lemon in your tea? Why do you drink orange juice while eating your cereals? For most people, combining foods is like an art. Your meal becomes more appealing and tastier when it is composed of two or more foods. But aside from this, combining foods is one great way to maintain a balanced diet.
The study, carried out by the researchers from University of Minnesota and headed by epidemiologist David R. Jacobs, Ph.D., showed that the complexities of the interactions of the foods can help people lose weight, prevent cancer and other debilitating health problems.
So what do you pair with what? Below are some of the best food combinations that promise good health:
Oatmeal and Orange Juice
Maybe you’re having oatmeal with orange juice for breakfast because that’s the kind of meal you grew up on. But did you know that this food combo reduces your risk of developing heart disease? In a study by the Antioxidants Research Lab at the USDA, it was found that drinking vitamin-C filled orange juice and eating a bowl of unprocessed cereals cleans the arteries, preventing the onset of heart attack. This is because they both contain phenols – organic compounds that stabilise the bad cholesterol or LDL levels.
Tomatoes and Avocados
Instead of the usual high-calorie spread, why not prepare some guacamole with tomatoes? We all know that tomatoes are highly nutritious. But they become superb when combined with avocadoes. Here’s why. Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant (also known as carotenoid) which is found to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. But for the body to absorb carotenoids, it needs fats such as those contained in avocadoes.
Tomatoes and Broccoli
Another great food combo is tomato and broccoli. In a rat study led by John W. Erdman Jr., Ph.D., of the University of Illinois, it was shown that this combination prevents the development of prostate cancer. It has long been established that both broccoli and tomato reduce risk of cancer. When combined together, they become powerful cancer fighters.
Tea and Lemon
A cup of warm tea with a squirt of lemon becomes a fat loss combo. Tea contains thousands of antioxidants called catechins that help speed up fat burning. Lemon on the other hand is rich in vitamin C. This nutrient helps the body absorb catechins for up to 300 times.
Blueberries and Grapes
The more colourful your fruit salad is, the healthier it becomes. In the study by the Cornell University, published in the Journal of Nutrition, it was found that some mix of fruits have better antioxidant response, like in the case of blueberries and grapes. The study authors recommend eating 10 servings of combined fruits everyday to stay healthy and away from cancer.
Chocolates and Apples
Red apples contain quercetin – anti-inflammatory flavonoid that is known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, allergy, and lung and prostate cancer. When combined with catechins which are found in chocolates, quercetin loosens up clumpy blood platelets, enhancing the cardiovascular system and promoting anticoagulant activity. This was the finding of Barry Halliwell, Ph.D., a food science professor from the National University of Singapore. Catechins are also found in tea, grapes and red wine.
Mushroom and Spinach
Aside from sunlight, vitamin D can also be obtained from eating mushrooms. Vitamin D is very much essential for the body particularly the bones to absorb vitamin C. Spinach, a good source of vitamin C and mushroom then makes a perfect combo.
Strawberry and Whole-wheat Bread
Whole-wheat breads are full of iron which helps promote energy. However, iron is an insoluble nutrient. For it to be absorbed by the body, it needs to be paired with vitamin C which you can also get from strawberries, according to expert nutritionists Stephanie Clarke, R.D., and Willow Jarosh, R.D.
Peanuts and Whole Wheat
Who says bread with peanut butter is a junk food? So long as it’s whole-wheat bread, peanut butter sandwich is a great snacking choice. There are specific types of amino acids that aren’t present in whole wheat bread. Fortunately, they are present in peanuts, explained Diane Birt, Ph.D., from the Iowa State University. According to her, it’s very rare that we consume a complete chain of amino acids like that in whole-wheat bread with peanut, which is essential in maintaining healthy muscles.
Turmeric and Black Pepper
Research has proven that turmeric, the yellow powdered spice used in many Asian cuisines is a good source of curcumin – a special type of polyphenol or active chemical that is linked to reduced risk of cancer, tumour, and inflammation. The problem with curcumin however, is that it has low bioavailability when consumed alone. But when combined with pepper, the bioavailability of curcumin increases for up to 1,000 times. So next time you prepare a curry dish, don’t forget to sprinkle it with pepper.
Garlic and Fish
Researchers from the University of Guelph, in Ontario found that eating fish with garlic lowers down cholesterol levels far better than eating fish alone. It’s sure to make your dish more aromatic and tasty as well!
Soy and Salmon
Who doesn’t love salmon? Salmon is among the tastiest and healthiest seafood in the world. Combined with soy, you get better protection against cancer. It’s because genistein, an isoflavone found in soy, helps increase the bioavailability level o vitamin D which you can get from salmon and other fish. A growing body of research suggests that vitamin D helps prevent the onset of cancer.