Are you tired of the same old combinations? Looking for some great ideas? Ideas that not only tickle the taste buds but are packed with goodness. An exciting area of nutrition research – ‘food synergy‘ – may be an option worth considering. The term ‘food synergy’ implies that some foods containing various food components may act in concert on our health. Here are some nifty combo’s that may help you achieve a particular health benefit.
Food synergy or otherwise known as healthy food combinations can be useful to know but it is always important that we focus on variety and healthy choices..
- ORANGE JUICE + SOY & LINSEED BREAD = LOWERS RISK FOR HEART DISEASE
This power breakie is sure to put you on the right foot! Test tube studies show that vitamin C and isoflavones (tiny molecule found in soy) inhibit LDL-cholesterol oxidation and may reduce the risk for heart disease.
Salads and light meals
- TOMATO + OLIVE OIL = PROSTATE CANCER PROTECTION
A great tip for your man! Studies show that tomatoes play a role in reducing the risk for prostate cancer. When combined with olive oil, lycopene (gives tomatoes their bright red colour) is absorbed better. Enjoy a fresh tossed salad with cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil – the ultimate lycopene boost!
- BROCCOLI + NUTS = PREVENTS BLADDER CANCER
This power pair will make a great salad especially in the summer. Research shows that five or more servings of cabbage, broccoli and/ or cauliflower may reduce bladder cancer risk by 51%. Adding some nuts (source of selenium) to the mix may also play a role in the prevention of cancer.
Top Tip: Rather enjoy broccoli raw as the active ingredient is absorbed better.
- ONION & LEEK SOUP + GARLIC CROUTONS = ANTI-CLOTTING
For the die-hard garlic fans. Preliminary studies show that compounds present in garlic, onions and leeks may exert anti-clotting effects as it may prevent blood platelets from sticking together.
DID YOU KNOW: The active ingredient in garlic is best absorbed when eaten raw – if you can stand the smell.
- GREEN TEA + STIR-FRY CONTAINING PEPPERS = ANTI-CANCER EFFECTS
What is better than a night out with your man? Enjoy a delicious Chinese pepper and black bean stir-fry while sipping on a cuppa green tea. Catechins (tannins found in green tea) may benefit patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Peppers are rich in vitamin C (anti-oxidant) and together, they may have an anti-cancer effect.
TIP: Golden tip for light frying: never overheat (smoking) or re-use oil as it changes the composition of the fats
- RED WINE + YELLOW RICE = IMMUNITY
A beef curry on a cold winter’s night coupled with a glass of good red wine! BLISS! Add yellow rice (flavoured with turmeric) to your curry. Studies suggest that curcumin (found in turmeric) and resveratrol (found in red wine) may have anti-inflammatory effects.
- MOROGO + POTATOES = ANAEMIA PREVENTION
Proudly South African! Morogo is a source of non-haem iron but its absorption is not great. When eaten with a source of vitamin C (such as potatoes), the absorption of the non-haem iron is increased. Iron ensures good blood health (no anaemia) = energy and vitality.
TIP: The best way to prepare potatoes is by keeping the potato skin intact, along with gentle boiling.
- AFRICAN SWEET POTATO + PUMPKIN = IMMUNITY
The ultimate ‘˜Sunday lunch’ – ‘˜soet patat en pampoen’. The African sweet potato (orange flesh) and pumpkin are sources of Î²-carotene and vitamin A which may play an important role in immunity. Five servings of fruit and vegetables a day is enough to ensure carotenoid-related health benefits in preventing chronic disease.
- BERRIES + DARK CHOCOLATE = ANTI-OXIDANT
What a decadent dessert! Flavonoids (found in berries and dark chocolate) may have a wide variety of biological effects. A long term study of 10 000 Finnish men and women showed that a diet high in flavonoids resulted in 20% less cases of cancer and 46% decrease in the cases of lung cancer.
REMEMBER: Go easy on the dark chocolate – allow yourself to enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in awhile
- YOGHURT + BANANA = IMPROVES GUT HEALTH
Are you looking for a healthy snack? Bananas are a great source of prebiotics that is shown to encourage the growth and activity of favourable gut bacteria (probiotics). Yoghurt, a source of probiotics, further promotes gut health as it reduces the amount of bad bacteria that may cause stomach upsets.
- SARDINES + SLICE OF WHOLEWHEAT BREAD = HEART HEALTH
This little fish packs quite the punch! A systematic review published in the British Journal of Nutrition (2012) concluded: omega-3 fatty acids are effective in preventing heart disease. Whole grains are also shown to play an important role in lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and contributes to body weight management.
Nutritionally speaking these combo’s are mostly good choices to make if you eat them in the right amounts. But remember the science behind the combo’s stills need some back-up. Until then, remember
- FRUITS + VEGETABLES = 5-A-DAY
- MEAT + DIARY = LOW FAT or FAT FREE
- LEGUMES + FISH = PROTEIN that packs a lean punch
- SUGAR + SALT = DASH or PINCH
- EXERCISE + WHOLE GRAINS = Healthy GUT
Remember: Love Food. Eat Smart. Love Life.
Always seek individualized care from a Registered Dietitian. Find a dietitian in your area by clicking here
© Catherine Day, 2015 (article also appears in Women’s Health Magazine)