Most of us grew up hearing “eat your green” from our mother, and I don’t need to stress how important vegetables and fruit are to our health. However, do you know pairing certain produces can maximize the benefits? This is what nutritionists call “food synergy.” While most pairing involves fruit and vegetables, there are combinations that include fish and meat as well.


The pairing is vital as it apparently helps biochemical in each food source to help each other to become bioavailable, that is, easily to be absorbed by the body to be used for maintenance. Let’s take a look on some of the perfect pairs.


Perfect Pair of Food


Tomato cooked in olive oil

We’ve heard how tomato is better eaten cooked than raw, how abundant lycopene is in cooked tomato. To help our body absorb the powerful red-colored antioxidant, enters olive oil. Next time you come across some ripe, juicy tomato, grab some olive oil too, preferably extra virgin olive oil. Just remember not to skin the tomato as the majority of the nutrients actually are in there.  Lycopene is a potent antioxidant that may protect us from cancer and heart disease.


Broccoli and Tomato

Another cancer fighting duo is actually broccoli and tomato. Instead of cooking the two vegetables together, they are prepared separately to enhance their bioavailability. The tomato is stewed and added a little oil while delicate broccoli is chopped into florets and lightly steamed or sautéed to preserve its anti-cancer phytochemical. Enjoy these two together for a fighting chance against dreaded cancer.


Chickpeas and Beetroot

Mineral deficiency is a common occurrence more than not. Magnesium is among the mineral tend to lack in our daily diet. A slight dip in magnesium can cause us fatigue, dizziness, poor metabolism and even irregular heartbeat. Beetroot is one source of magnesium rich food. Chickpeas meanwhile are teeming with vitamin B6, the nutrient our body needs to better absorb magnesium from food.


Citrus and Green Tea

Green teas, revere in Japan and China has now made wave in the western world. Many attracted to its antioxidant properties. Weight loss and cancer prevention are among the reasons why people are attracted to this low caffeine drink. Unlike normal black tea, catechins in green tea are greatly preserved due to minimal oxidation process. This antioxidant is again, a cancer fighting agent and is considered as powerful anti-neurodegenerative elements. Vitamin C in citrus fruit juice like orange, lemon, grapefruit and lime not only speed up the absorption of catechins but also increase the amount of catechins absorb into the body.


Unprocessed Oatmeal and Orange Juice

Oatmeal lovers, if you enjoy this hearty breakfast with a glass of freshly squeeze orange juice, rejoice. Phenolic acid in the oat when paired with vitamin C in orange juice will help unclog your arteries from LDL cholesterol two times faster than when you have either oatmeal or orange juice alone.


Garlic and Fatty Fish

Omega-3 rich fish like salmon, trout, herring and certain tuna, are good in helping to maintain a healthy heart. However, omega 3 is also known to slightly increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad cholesterol in our body. Combining the fish with garlic help curb LDL level in the body from rising, thus reducing more chance of developing heart problem. Next time when you want to cook some fish, remember to add some garlic. Not only it is flavorful, it is also beneficial.


Rosemary and Grilled Red Meat

This pairing is a little different from all combination we’ve come across. Instead of enhancing absorption, they are paired in order to reduce a chance of certain chemical reaction from happening. Red meat is a source of protein, iron and antioxidant lipoic acid. Unfortunately red meat is always associated with major diseases like cancer and cardiovascular problems. In truth processed meat is the culprit as well as the way we prepare the meat. Grilling meat on open fire is one of the tastiest ways to cook red meat but exposing meat to fire and high temperature causes heterocyclic amines (HCAs) to form. This chemical substance is dangerous as it induce the formation of cancer. To reduce the level of HCAs in grilled meat it is advisable to add a little rosemary or rosemary extract to the meat.  Rosmarinic acid, carnosol and carnosic acid in the fragrant herb are able to block HCAs from forming, from a small percentage to completely halting it, allowing you to enjoy carcinogen-free steak or burgers.


Chocolate and Unpeeled Red Apple

Chocolate and red apple, two very handy snacks we usually have at home, instead of reaching for either one, it’s time to reach for both whenever you feel like having a snack. Apple peel is rich in heart supporting quercetin that when combine with catechin in chocolate, especially dark chocolate, not only protects the heart but might reduce chances of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and even certain types of cancer. Just be sure to choose organic grown apple to avoid all the pesticides that cling to the skin.


With this simple guide, preparing well-balanced meal just gets easier and our bodies get even more benefit as the amount of nutrition absorbed increases.



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Foodsynergy, access December 5, 2013


WebMD, access December 5, 2013


Live Love Fruit, access December 5, 2013


Huff Post Healthy Living, access December 5, 2013


Organic gardening, access December 6, 2013,1


The Jerusalem Post, access December 5, 2013


Science Daily