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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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