June 11, 2018
Great superfood combinations for your health
‘Superfood’ has become a bit of a buzzword recently, used to describe anything you would eat that is vaguely healthy for you. However, there are several foods that are extremely good for you – providing you with the chemicals you need to fight off illness and lose weight – which definitely deserve to be called super.
A diet rich in these superfoods can be great for your health. However, if you want even more benefits, you should try eating them in combination. Some foods team up with each other, improving the nutritional quality of both thanks to some nifty quirks of nature.
What this means for you is that you can improve your health even more simply by eating two superfoods at the same time. Here are some of the best combos you can consume to have your body performing perfectly, fight off disease and lose weight.
Tomatoes and healthy fat
One of the reasons tomatoes have that bright red colour is a chemical called lycopene. As well as its visual properties, this nutrient is great for the body, boosting your immune system and helping to prevent heart disease and cancer. However, the body is not great at absorbing this chemical when it is eaten on its own.
However, one way to improve lycopene absorption is to eat it alongside a fat. Tomatoes and olive oil, for example, are much better for you when eaten together. The healthy fat from the olive oil helps your body take in more of the health-boosting lycopene.
However, for a real health boost you should eat tomatoes together with avocado. The healthy fats in the avocado have been found to make lycopene four times as effective. Tomatoes also contain beta-carotene, a powerful immune-system booster, which is three times more effective when eaten alongside avocado.
Peanut butter, banana and milk
After a hard session at the gym, many of us like to have a refreshing protein smoothie. One of the best recipes is a simple mix of peanut butter, bananas and milk or yoghurt. This is a good combination of protein, monounsaturated fat and carbohydrates, all of which your body needs to repair muscles and speed up recovery.
However, there are even more benefits from combining these foods. First of all, the mixture of bananas and dairy helps your body to better absorb the glucose and amino acids that are essential for repairing your muscles after exercise. It is thought they can even help you gain strength faster.
Meanwhile, as well as being a good source of protein, the fats in peanut butter help with the absorption of vitamin D, which is found in milk and yoghurt. While you will get plenty of this vitamin in the summer from sunlight, in the autumn and winter this will be a helpful boost of a nutrient in short supply.
Greens, beans and vitamin C
Iron is a great nutrient, especially when it comes to boosting your energy. If you’re feeling run-down, a good dose of iron can work wonders. However, it’s yet another nutrient that the body doesn’t absorb as well as it could; that is, unless it’s eaten alongside some healthy vitamin C.
You probably know that vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, but you can also get it from tomatoes and peppers. Iron, meanwhile, is found in green vegetables and legumes. A great combination of foods is tomatoes, broccoli and beans, which can be made into a salad or a casserole. Together, these provide you with plenty of both vitamin C and iron.
Another option is tofu – which is rich in iron – marinated in freshly-squeezed orange juice, garlic and ginger. You can grill it or fry it, then add some cornflour to the marinade and use it as a sauce for a tofu stir-fry. Again, you will get plenty of iron from the tofu and the orange juice will provide you with the vitamin C you need to absorb it.
Fruit and yoghurt
Certain fruits are rich in vitamin A, which is great for boosting your immune system. Peaches, cantaloupe melon, mango and papaya are all great sources of this nutrient. However – you guessed it – the body doesn’t absorb it as well as it could. This time, the key to taking in more of this vitamin is zinc.
One great source of zinc is yoghurt. If you opt for unsweetened, low-fat yoghurt and eat it with one or more of these fruits, it will not only be a delicious dessert but also a great way to take in plenty of nutritious vitamin A.