Mario and Luigi. Batman and Robin. Calvin and Hobbes. Hall and Oates. Sometimes two is better than one. Nutrition can work the same way as food scientists have been touting the benefits of food synergy (when components within or between foods work together in the body for maximum health benefits). Try these simple combinations to maximize your nutrition potential.
Onions + Black Grapes: Onions contain quercitin, a powerful anti-oxidant, which has been shown to provide cardiovascular protection and relieve allergy symptoms. Catechin, an anti-oxidant found in grapes, may help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurological disorders. Combining these two can be a powerhouse for your cardiovascular system by inhibiting blood clots and boosting overall heart health.
Oatmeal + Blueberries: Whole grains, such as oatmeal, contain phytochemicals that can combat inflammation and disease. They also contain avenanthramides, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol (oxidized LDL is more likely to encourage plaque buildup in the arteries). Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties.
Blueberries have long been praised as a cancer fighter because of their concentrations of ellagic acid. They also are a good source of fiber, vitamin C and K and manganese. A study published in the The Journal of Nutrition showed that the amount of time LDL was protected from oxidation increased from 137 to 216 minutes when vitamin C was added to oat phytochemicals.
Fish + Garlic: Fish is a good source of omega-3 fats and selenium, low in saturated fat and high in protein. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and triglycerides; improve blood-vessel function; and reduce inflammation. Remember, avoid farmed fish and opt for wild caught fish.
Garlic has been shown to be a cancer fighter (a study from the National Cancer Institute found that eating approximately 2 teaspoons or more of garlic was associated with a statistically significant lower risk of prostate cancer for the participants in the study), a detoxifier and it may lower cholesterol.
Researchers at the University of Guelph tested the effects of garlic and fish oil supplements, taken alone and together, on men with moderately high blood cholesterol. The combination lowered total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Salad Greens + Almonds/Avocados: The plant pigments found in brightly colored vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and cancer. However, they need to be eaten with a small amount of absorption-boosting monounsaturated fat, which can be found in almonds or avocados.
An Ohio State University study measured how well phytochemicals from a mixed green salad were absorbed when eaten with or without 3.5 tbsp of avocado. The avocado’s fatty acids helped subjects absorb 8.3 times more alpha-carotene, 13.6 times more beta-carotene, and 4.3 times more lutein than those who ate their salads plain.
Green Tea + Lemon: Green tea contains catechins, which has been associated with lower incidences of cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, catechin breaks down quickly in a non-acidic environment and roughly 20% of catechin is available for absorption after digestion. A study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research found that adding lemon juice to tea increases the level of antioxidant utilization in the body more than 5 times.