- Broccolis should be eaten in combination with tomatoes
- Have green tea with lemon for an antioxidant boost
- Curcumin in turmeric is activated in presence of piperine in black pepper
Food synergy is a concept that has been studied over many years to define the relationship between certain foods in terms of food pairing and nutrient interaction. Certain foods and nutrients work best when together. They bring out the best in one another for a power-packed nutrition punch. The accurate combinations of foods you put on your plate can not only spur your body in absorbing various nutrients, but it also improves body's ability for fighting diseases.
Here are some dynamic food pairing duos to keep you in the best of health:
1. Broccoli and tomatoes
Tomato is rich in a powerful antioxidant called lycopene while broccoli contains another beneficial phytonutrient called sulforaphane. Together, these two have been studied extensively for their cancer-preventing properties especially prostate cancer. Both tomato and broccoli have their nutritive value enhanced when steamed or cooked. This perfect pair also boots your immunity. Toss some diced tomatoes with broccoli and some mushrooms or bell peppers for a quick evening supper or add chopped broccoli and tomato to your breakfast omelette.
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2. Green tea and lemon
Green tea, without a doubt, is rich in many health benefitting antioxidants like catechins. If researchers are to be believed, the antioxidant capacity of green tea is enhanced by 5-10 times when paired with a dash of lemon juice. This is because of the presence of vitamin C in lemon which pairs perfectly with catechins in green tea. This match made in the kitchen can boost your immunity, prevent premature aging, and can also fight certain types of cancer. So, next time-just squeeze some lemon juice in your cup of green tea.
3. Turmeric and black pepper
The bioactive form of turmeric is curcumin which is one of the most powerful antioxidants ever known. Not only it is anti-inflammatory, but it possesses strong anti-cancer properties. The bioactive compound present in black pepper is known as piperine. When paired together, piperine helps enhance cancer-fighting properties of curcumin and increases its absorption by as much as 1000 times! So, the next time when you grab your turmeric latte, just add a dash of black pepper to it.
4. Dal and rice
One of the most widely believed misconceptions is that a vegetarian diet lacks complete protein. To make any protein food a complete one, it must contain all the 9 essential amino acids which your body cannot synthesize on its own and you can very well have your own complete protein meal even if you are a vegetarian or a vegan. Combining rice with pulses is the best way to do so. Rice contains sulfur-containing amino acids- cysteine and methionine, but low in lysine while pulses are low in cysteine and methionine but high in lysine. So, combining these two as a part of your major meals make up for a perfect synergistic dose of complete protein.
5. Vegetables and oil/nuts
A dash of oil or sprinkling a few nuts over your vegetable preparations is the best way to unlock vitamins present in the veggies. A hint of healthy fats can help enhance the absorption of nutrients like alpha and beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene in addition to enhancing the absorption of Vitamin E, A, and K. So, adding a healthy dressing of cold-pressed olive oil to your salads or simply sprinkling some crushed nuts will do wonders for your health by making sure you absorb all the goodness of fat-soluble vitamins from vegetables.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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