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The Synergy of Combined Foods

In an article published in TIME magazine this winter, (Dec 28th edition) the reader was given several examples of the enhanced nutritional benefits of certain food combinations.

I'll share them here:

1.  Put an egg on it.
A recent study found that topping a salad (greens & some veggies) with an egg increased the body's absorption of carotenoids - one of the things that make vegetables so nutritious.  The fat in an egg enhanced the absorption of those nutrients several-fold.

2. Burger-avocado
This study was small, but people who ate burgers topped with avocado had less inflammation and blood vessel constriction than people who ate a beef patty alone. (Imagine the value of an avocado without the beef :-)

3. Turmeric and black pepper
We've been hearing a lot about adding turmeric to food for health benefits.  Some people even take it by capsule.  But this study found that when people mixed turmeric and black pepper the beneficial compound in turmeric was much better absorbed.  Without the pepper, it was undetectable in the blood!  This is surely true of the turmeric in capsules and tablets unless the turmeric has been processed in a way that proves it gets into bloodstream. 
(I now mix equal amounts of turmeric, black pepper, and sea salt in a small container by the stove so that I can add a little to anything/everything that might enjoy a little spice-bump :-)  I've also read that fats & oils help turmeric to be absorbed, so saute with some avocado oil or olive oil when you add the spice.)

4. Tomato-broccoli
Both have compounds thought to have anticancer effects, and an animal study shows an even stronger effect when these two are in combination.  This certainly suggests they're better together than alone.  
(A side note here:  This is why JuicePlus+ gets such profound results in tests: the synergistic effect of many fruits and vegetables taken together at the same time increases activity of all of the phyto-nutrients present.)

5. Green tea & lemon
Squeezing lemon into green tea is something a lot of people regularly do.  Now we know there is a good reason for doing so: the action preserves 80% of the tea's catechins - antioxidants that thrive in acidic environments like lemon juice.

6. Spinach & orange
Of all the iron people eat, just 15% is absorbed according to a recent paper.  Researchers think that pairing it with foods high in vitamin C, like oranges, may improve absorption of iron from plants like spinach.
(Incidentally, this is the reason that people who have too much iron should not pair these types of food.  In fact, if you take Vit C as a supplement, you should always take it with a meal if you want extra iron absorption, and take it on an empty stomach if you don't!)

Another article coming soon on the "Six new food rules for the New Year"...

Mary Anne Robinson, MS Bio-Nutrition
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