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Archive for March, 2009

Evolved Food Synergies

Posted by cavewomanrunner on March 30, 2009

There’s some interesting research on why combinations of foods work well. Most people just think certain foods taste good together. However, epidemiologist David R. Jacobs, PhD, and other researchers believe that we have evolved to eat specific food combinations because they are healthier when consumed together.

Here are a few of the combos and why the food synergies work.

  1. Tomatoes and avocados. The lycopene in tomatoes is better absorbed with fat (avocados, olive oil, walnuts, pistachios).
  2. Broccoli and tomatoes. Both are known to lower the growth of tumors and together, they work even better. More research is needed on why.
  3. Blueberries and grapes (or mixed fruit in general). Eating a mix of fruits (instead of just one variety) increases their antioxidant effects.
  4. Apples and wine. Apples, onions, and raspberries contain quercetin, an anti-inflammatory flavonoid. Chocolate, grapes, red wine, and tea contain catechin, an antioxidant that reduces the risks for atherosclerosis and cancer. Together they improve cardiovascular health. So have some Merlot with your apple and raspberry mix!
  5. Vitamin C + dark greens. Vitamin C helps absorb plant-based iron. Get it from citrus fruits, leafy greens, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli. Get iron from leeks, beet greens, kale, spinach, and mustard greens.
  6.  Rosemary and red meat. Rosemary is supposed to soak up the free radicals from grilling red meat. Plus, it makes lamb taste great!
  7. Tumeric and black pepper. “Adding black pepper to turmeric or turmeric-spiced food enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper’s hot property called piperine.” Spices are nice!
  8. Garlic and fish. The added garlic can help lower cholesterol even more.
  9. Eggs and cantaloupe (protein + good carbs). This is a no-brainer for Paleo folks. We know that eating protein slows the absorption of glucose from carbs. It’s nice that they also mention to cut out the bad carbs ( “anything white, starchy, and sugary”).
  10. Vitamins + fat. Vitamins A, D, and E are fat soluble. So pair carrots and broccoli (Vitamin A) with healthy fat like olive oil. Pair fish and orange juice (Vitamin D) with almonds and turkey bacon. For Vitamin E, try spinach salad with olive oil.

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Sugar is a Narcotic

Posted by cavewomanrunner on March 25, 2009

A British nutrition site has a great article on why eating sugar is bad. Hmm, what does the Paleo lifestyle tell us? Ancient humans did not have sugar. Sugar was not part of their diet at all. Their bodies were made to digest meat, vegetables, and fruit from their hunting and gathering. They did not sit around on a couch all day and eat ice cream, donuts and drink soda. They didn’t start their day with a bowl full of sugar (aka cereal).

So why the shock that sugar is an “alien chemical to the human system” that can be addictive and cause massive health problems? This should not be news to anyone.

Yet, sugary “boxes of goodness” line the grocery store aisles and people complain daily about their weight, their diabetes, their lack of energy, etc. Will they cut out the sugar and processed foods from their diet? No, those things “taste good” and real foods do not, in their opinion. They’ll also spend tons of money taking the latest diet fad pills or miracle drinks, not to mention the latest workout gadgets, videos and unused gym memberships, to make them lose weight.

My advice: stop the addiction! Cut out the sugar! Now I’m not saying to cut out sugar completely – in fact, in today’s world that is almost impossible. But cut down. Eat real food that comes from the ground, not from a box.

The intro of the article sums it up nicely. I encourage everyone to read the full article.

The white crystalline substance we know of as sugar is an unnatural substance produced by industrial processes (mostly from sugar cane or sugar beets) by refining it down to pure sucrose, after stripping away all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes and other beneficial nutrients.

What is left is a concentrated unnatural substance which the human body is not able to handle, at least not in anywhere near the quantities that is now ingested in today’s accepted lifestyle. Sugar is addictive. The average American now consumes approximately 115 lbs. of sugar per year. This is per man, woman and child.

The biggest reason sugar does more damage than any other poison, drug or narcotic is twofold:

a. It is considered a “food” and ingested in such massive quantities, and
b. The damaging effects begin early, from the day a baby is born and is fed sugar in its formula. Even mothers milk is contaminated with it if the mother eats sugar, and
c. Practically 95% of people are addicted to it to some degree or other.

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