Too often we turn to processed foods in the name of convenience. While processed foods may offer a quick meal, they could be damaging your health. Processed foods can reduce nutrient absorption, weaken the immune system and lead to weight gain, according to Donna Gates, who is the founder of the Body Ecology Diet. “You are not what you eat, you are what you digest,” says Gates. Poor food choices are not the best option for your digestion. To maximize your body’s absorption of the nutrients from your meals, one should turn to synergistic foods. Since we are only what we digest, we should make food choices that maximize the absorption of the benefits found in each other. This is where synergistic foods come into play. Some foods that are paired together will not only maximize the benefits that each other contain, but also provide new benefits when combined. The combinations of whole foods that are eaten together are greater than the benefits of each food’s individual nutrients. Synergistic foods also work together to provide the optimum level of vitamins and nutrients that the body needs to function properly.
To maximize your body’s absorption of much needed nutrients try the following synergistic pairs:
Blueberries and Walnuts
For a delicious on the go snack, ditch the processed foods and try this brain boosting combo. Nutrition expert Dr. Steven Pratt has noted the super synergy between blueberries and walnuts for brain health. Dr. Pratt says, “There is synergy between blueberries and almost every other food. If you have blueberries plus walnuts for brain health, that’s better than just walnuts by itself. It’s not 1 plus 1 is 2, its 1 plus 1 is 3.” This benefit maximizing wonder is what synergy is all about.
A study in Biochemistry examined the antioxidant synergy of consuming one variety of berries in contrast to mixed berries. The study found that a mix of berries eaten together provides significantly more cardiovascular protection than when eaten separately. Each type of berry offers unique antioxidants that complement and enhance that of the others. For anti-aging, skin care and immune system health, indulge in a juicy bowl of mixed berries, which are known to keep skin healthy and prevent premature aging.
Berries and Chocolate
Raw food lecturer David Wolfe has shared the fact that chocolate and berries provide a super antioxidant synergy. Chocolate and berries are both very high in antioxidants, but when eaten together your body absorbs the nutrients up to three times better. This pair will improve blood flow to your brain and heart to maximize each other’s benefits.
Red Wine and Almonds
This delicious pair has many heart healthy benefits. Combine the resveratrol antioxidants in wine with the high vitamin E content in almonds, and you can’t go wrong. When these two foods are combined, they work together to thin your blood and improve the health of your blood vessels.
Green Tea and Lemon
Green tea and lemon naturally help prevent cancer and heart disease. The vitamin C in lemons helps the body absorb the disease fighting antioxidants in the green tea up to 6 times more than what you would get if you drank green tea alone! When combining them together they also boost weight loss. The Journal of Medicinal Food published a study on the effects of green tea combined with lemon for weight loss. The participants that consumed the tea daily for four weeks, while participating in weight training, showed a significant increase in lean body mass and resting metabolic rate, in contrast to the control group that did not drink tea.
Eggs and Cheese
This combination has been linked with clearer thinking, reduced PMS symptoms and weight loss. The vitamin D in egg yolks maximizes the absorption of the calcium in cheese. Sufficient calcium in the body will promote neurotransmitter health and stabilize hormones to reduce PMS and weight gain.
Tomatoes and Olive Oil
The next time you eat a delicious bowl of pasta and tomato sauce drizzled with olive oil keep in mind that you are actually doing your body a favor. The combination of tomatoes and olive oil are actually a super pair! Olive oil will help your body absorb the fat soluble antioxidants from the tomatoes. This combination benefits every organ, but especially the skin and heart. Lycopene has been shown to give people smoother, younger looking skin according to a study published in the European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics.
Meat and Spices
Who doesn’t love a juicy spice-rubbed steak off the grill? Turns out that pairing your grilled steak with delicious herbs will maximize each other’s benefits. Meat forms a compound called malondialdehyde when cooked, and this compound has been shown to cause cancer and heart disease. The antioxidants in herbs and spices will reduce this compound by 71% , so you can enjoy that juicy steak worry-free. The next time you grill, try rubbing oregano, rosemary, black pepper, paprika or garlic to get these benefits.
Iron and Vitamin C
Dried beans and iron-enriched grains are all good plant sources of iron called nonheme iron. Your body does not absorb this type of plant iron as efficiently as meat based iron, so you should maximize the absorption with vitamin C. Just 25 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about ¼ cup of orange juice, can double the amount of plant based iron that you get from your meals. This is essential for vegetarians (especially if they are pregnant). Maximizing plant based iron will provide you with better brain function and improved muscle mass.
In the kitchen there is no limit to the creative dishes you can prepare. Why should you turn to processed foods when there are so many synergistic foods out there that can benefit your body instead of harming it? Combining these foods will not only make for a delicious meal, it will also provide your body with all the nutrients it can get. Reap the benefits of how these combinations will improve the function of your whole body.