By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
March 4, 2016
- The superfoods hiding in your fridge
- Simple trick multiplies the nutrient value of your foods
- Here’s why I call it “Mediterranean synergy”
When you think of “superfoods,” you probably think of exotic foods that come from the jungles of the Rainforest. So you might be surprised to learn that you probably have a few superfoods hiding in your own refrigerator.
Broccoli, tomatoes, avocado… There are a slew of every-day foods in your own home that meet the criteria of a superfood. That’s because they deliver an abundance of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that fight inflammation, disease and aging.
They may not sound exotic, but they have a great deal of power behind them.
When you load your plate with these “boring” superfoods, you’re giving your body a fighting chance to beat today’s most common diseases. And as potent as they already are, you can actually punch-up their nutrient power even further.
You see, certain foods work in synergy with each other. Basically, they release more nutrients when eaten together than if you ate either food alone.
For example, avocado is one of my favorite fruits. I like eating it alone, but guess what happens when I add it to a salad?
The healthy fats in the avocado drastically increase my body’s ability to absorb the beta carotenes found in the organic lettuce, greens and peppers in my salad. In fact, it becomes about 15 times more absorbable – and my lutein absorption jumps by about five times.
Boosting levels of these antioxidants is great for your eye health. Your skin, too. Plus, they help boost immune response, decrease inflammation and reduce markers for heart disease.
Extra virgin olive oil and tomatoes is another synergistic combination that my taste buds are fond of. And seriously… who doesn’t like a good marina?
When you cook tomatoes together with a little olive oil, it magnifies the amount of lycopene your body absorbs. You’ve probably heard this carotene before. It’s well-known for its cancer-fighting abilities, especially when it comes to protecting against prostate cancer.
And here’s the glory of it. If you eat just one meal each day that includes tomatoes cooked with olive oil, you can pump up your lycopene levels by more than 80%. And it only takes about five days for this little miracle to occur.
What other tricks do I have up my sleeve?
Well, how about some nice wild-caught fish and a small glass of wine for dinner?
Wine helps to kick up levels of fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids in your bloodstream. That’s because the polyphenols in the wine actually help you absorb more of these heart- and brain-healthy fatty acids.
Add a side of organic broccoli, kale or collard greens and you’ll get even more benefit.
These veggies are high in sulforaphane, which is a known cancer-fighter. When sulforaphane is combined with selenium (found in fish like salmon and Pollock) it boosts the anticancer activity of the veggies.
What if you’re planning on grass-fed beef for dinner?
Well, there’s a reason beef and marinades work so well together. And it’s not just because marinating adds flavor and tenderness.
When meats are cooked, they release cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These compounds are linked to many types of cancer; including cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, pancreas and stomach.
But if you marinate your beef first, it can cut down on these risky chemicals.
Your best bet: Use extra virgin olive oil as your base. Then add in equal measures of garlic and onion… and about half that measure of lemon juice. This will reduce HCA production by about 70%.
For an afternoon or evening snack, brew some green tea. It’s high in catechins, which protect against high blood pressure and heart disease. Then, enjoy it with a fruit that contains quercetin – like an apple (with the skin), blueberries, cherries or grapes.
This combination works together to loosen clumps of blood platelets and keep your arteries from getting clogged up.
Now, here’s a little surprise for you. All of these natural food synergies are commonplace in the Mediterranean way of eating. It might even be why people who adhere to a Mediterranean-style diet tend to live longer, healthier and more energetic lives.
And it’s one more great reason for you to go Mediterranean!
Unlu NZ, et al. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6.
Fielding JM, et al. Increases in plasma lycopene concentration after consumption of tomatoes cooked with olive oil. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14(2):131-6.
Abdulah R, et al. Selenium enrichment of broccoli sprout extract increases chemosensitivity and apoptosis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells. BMC Cancer. 2009 Nov 30;9:414.
Pignatelli P, et al. The flavonoids quercetin and catechin synergistically inhibit platelet function by antagonizing the intracellular production of hydrogen peroxide. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Nov;72(5):1150-5.
Gibis M. Effect of oil marinades with garlic, onion, and lemon juice on the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines in fried beef patties. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(25):10240-10247.
Cristina F. Mediterranean diet health benefits may be due to a synergistic combination of phytochemicals and fatty-acids. BMJ. 2005 Jul 9;331(7508):E366.