Just like wine and foods pair up, certain foods too, pair up together.
Let’s see what I am talking about:
This is an area called “Food Synergy”.
By this we mean two or more food items work together to provide benefits of a greater value than what they would produce when individually summed up. (1)
Let me clarify even further, by citing some examples:
1) Apples and Oranges
These two fruits work wonders together.
When we eat an apple, our body might not grasp all the iron from it, but when combined with the Vitamin C from the oranges, then the magic happens.
Vitamin C in the oranges, helps our body to absorb iron easier. (2)
This is also true for other similar combinations like Strawberries and spinach, for example.
2) Broccoli and Tomatoes.
When these are eaten together, their cancer fighting properties are enhanced. This is even more nutritious when cut and lightly cooked. (3)
3) Olive oil and leafy greens
The Vitamin K in greens can only be absorbed by our body when dissolved in fats. Olive oil provides an excellent source of good fats. Alternatively, you can throw in other sources of good fat like nuts to get a similar effect. (4)
4) Carrots and Hummus
Another combination to consider is Carrots with hummus. Carrots contain Vitamin A and C and when paired with Iron and Zinc in hummus it gives you a good energy boost. The Vitamin C and Iron combination we have discussed earlier. With regards to Vitamin A, Zinc in the Hummus not only enables the Vitamin’s easy absorption, but also enhances the transportation and utilisation in our body. (5)
Now this might get you thinking, that there is always a positive outcome to this equation of food interaction, but hold on:
In fact, there are some Food groups that even diminish the value of another
Let us look at examples of these:
Eating some fruits after meals –
Fruits contain sugars namely Fructose, which will ferment if it stays in your stomach too long. So, ideally fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach. Ideally keep a gap of 30 minutes between food and fruit. (6)
Jam with white bread –
White bread is a simple carbohydrate which causes blood sugar to spike, when eaten. When you add a sugary substance like jam to it, this would increase blood sugar even more. This will cause an overload on your pancreas to produce insulin. (7)
Lentils with Red wine/ Green tea –
Red wine which contains tannin and lentils, iron. The tannin reduces the ability of our body to absorb the iron in lentils. The same goes for Green tea which contains phenolic-rich extracts, which also reduces the absorption of iron. (8)
Water with your meals –
If you are in the habit of drinking water with your meals, then think again. Water dilutes your stomach enzymes, causing your system to work harder to digest the food eaten. Preferably keep a gap of about half an hour between drinking water and a meal. This is however a bit controversial as some line of thinking suggests that water actually aids digestion. But majority object to the practice of drinking when eating. (9)
Some Foods work well with others, while others do not. Knowing how these work can benefit you well.
If you know of other such combinations, feel free to write about them in the comments below. Thanks….