Dynamic Duos: Foods Team Up for Healthy BenefitsMonday, March 19, 2012
Food synergy refers to how different foods work together to keep bodies healthy. Foods contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, and science has just begun to understand how they combine to help prevent disease. Rather than taking supplements containing nutrients, experts recommend focusing on eating certain pairs of foods that maximize food synergy. For example, boost iron absorption with a salad containing baby spinach and mandarin oranges, as the vitamin C in the oranges helps the body absorb iron from the spinach. An afternoon snack of an apple and some green tea pairs heart-healthy phytochemicals quercentin, from the apples, with catechins, from the tea, to help prevent blood clots. The lycopene in tomatoes is more readily absorbed when cooked with healthy fat such as olive oil. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, and many dairy products like yogurt and milk are fortified with vitamin D for this reason. Beans and rice combine to make a complete protein, making this combination a perfect meat substitute by providing the full set of amino acids found in the protein of meat. Soy and quinoa also both contain all the amino acids necessary for good health. Eating a variety of colorful, whole, unprocessed foods is the simplest way to get all the nutrients needed each day.