Food synergy is defined by the way in which certain foods (and the nutrients they contain) work together to offer health benefits stronger than the individual foods alone. Sometimes simply combining two items can supercharge the impact it has on your health!
Want to boost your mood?
- Combine your daily apple with some leafy greens
Want to lower your blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurological disorders?
- Mix black grapes with onion (black grapes, rich in the polyphenol antioxidant catechin, combined with onion can inhibit blood clots and boost cardiovascular health.
Want an anti-inflammatory powerhouse?
- Have fish with curry
Want to improve your bone health and gut bacteria?
- Have a banana with yogurt
Want healthier skin and eyes?
- Have olive oil with tomatoes and red peppers (olive oil helps the body to absorb the vitamin A found in tomatoes and red peppers)
Other health-boosting food combinations include garlic and honey, which can help with upper respiratory tract infections, and almonds and berries which can help prevent heart disease.
The Knowledge Gap
A recent study of 2,000 adults found 21 percent have little or no understanding of vitamins and minerals and their role within their body.
Our diet is important for our health and paying more attention to what we eat, and how we combine foods, can be extremely beneficial. These combinations can be harnessed to target specific conditions such reducing inflammation, managing diabetes and heart disease, or dealing with symptoms of the menopause.
The study also found 54 percent of adults are unaware that combining different foods can benefit their health, and 31 percent never think about mixing foods together to get more out of them.
10 SUPER MEALS TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH WITH FOOD SYNERGY
1. Salmon, prawn and almond curry
Helps with: Reducing inflammation in the body which is at the root of all chronic diseases
Food synergy: Oily fish (salmon, trout, herring, sardines, mackerel) – omega 3 + turmeric (curcumin)
This fish curry is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids found in salmon and curcumin which is the active compound found in turmeric. Together, this food synergy can amplify the anti-inflammatory effects of the individual nutrients alone. Reducing inflammation in the body can help to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases including those of the heart.
2. Overnight oats topped with almonds and berries
Helps with: Heart disease
Food synergy: Almonds (flavonoids) with foods rich in vitamin C (berries)
Almond skin contains flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants in the body. In combination with vitamin C found in foods such as berries, this combination has been shown to help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol is now considered a key factor in the development of heart disease.
3. Tomato, avocado, and basil salad dressed with olive oil
Helps with: Heart health, prostate health
Food synergy: Foods high in lycopene (tomatoes) + olive oil
Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. This plant compound has also been associated with an improvement in prostate health. Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene which is aided in its absorption when combined with fat such as olive oil. Olive oil possesses many health benefits to support good heart health including reducing inflammation and increasing HDL cholesterol.
4. Breakfast smoothie made with probiotic yogurt and banana
Helps with: Healthy microbiota, bone health
Food synergy: Probiotic yogurt + banana (prebiotics)
Probiotic yogurt delivers beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus to the gut. Maintaining a balance of food to bad bacteria is essential for a healthy microbiota. This is important as the gut is where food is broken down and nutrients are absorbed and delivered around the body. Gut health is also closely linked to immunity. The addition of bananas adds prebiotics (inulin) to the mix. These indigestible fibers are fermented by bacteria in the gut – essentially, they are helping to feed the bacteria in your gut helping it to flourish.
5. Blue cheese and grape salad (include red onions)
Helps with: Heart health, blood pressure (circulation)
Food synergy: Black grapes (catechin) + onions
Black grapes are rich in polyphenol antioxidant catechin, which helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurological disorders and in weight management. Together, onion and grapes inhibit blood clots and boost cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that this combination helps to improve cardiovascular protection by improving circulation.
6. Apple, walnut, and spinach salad
Helps with: Cognitive function and mood
Food synergy: Apples (flavonoids) + green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale) – dietary nitrate
Apples and green leafy vegetables – Apples are rich in flavonoids, and green leafy vegetables are rich in dietary nitrate. Studies reveal that combination of flavonoids and nitrate could increase nitrous oxide production. The increase in nitrous oxide following consumption of flavonoids and dietary nitrate could improve cognitive function and mood. Beetroot is also high in dietary nitrates.
7. Paprika and turmeric chicken (spice rub includes black pepper)
Helps with: Joint health
Food synergy: Black pepper (piperine) + turmeric (curcumin)
The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin and it has been widely researched for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is difficult to absorb in the body but in combination with black pepper its absorption is magnified. The active ingredient in pepper is called piperine which is responsible for this absorptive effect.
8. Black bean chili (includes red peppers)
Helps with: Iron deficiency anemia
Food synergy: black beans (iron) + red peppers (vitamin C)
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency across the globe. Non-heme iron from plant foods is less easily absorbed in the body. It is widely understood that non-heme iron is more readily absorbed in the presence of vitamin C. Plant source of iron include beans, pulses, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and dried fruit. Red peppers are the richest dietary source of vitamin C but others include berries, broccoli, citrus fruits and potatoes.
9. Ginger and turmeric salad dressing (includes honey and garlic)
Helps with: Upper respiratory tract infections
Food synergy: Garlic (phenols) + honey
Garlic and honey are often cited as being singularly antibacterial. However, research shown that in combination they have a greater ability to reduce the growth of pathogenic bacteria which is due to the synergistic action of phenols and fatty acids found in the foods. It has also been suggested that in combination these two foods may be a useful alternative treatment for upper respiratory tract infections or can be used alongside pharmaceutically prescribed antibiotics.
10. Tomato, avocado, and chickpea salad dressed with olive oil