By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
November 15, 2019
I have a lot of fun cooking at home.
Usually, I play some upbeat music from an artist like Caro Emerald. (She’s great…look her up.) Then I slide on my cutting gloves and make neat little bowls filled with each of my ingredients… just like Jamie Oliver and his five ingredient meals..
The cutting gloves are great because you only need to add a slice of finger once on a mandolin to learn your lesson.
Once done chopping, I can just toss my perfectly portioned ingredients into a cooking pot and let the magic begin.
While I’m cooking, I try my best to combine the right type of foods for each meal. This is key because some ingredients can actually boost the nutritional value of other foods when eaten together.
For instance, I love to make big beautiful salads. Now, I’m not talking about a wedge of iceberg lettuce and a few shaved carrots drenched in dressing. That’s what a lot of people think of when they hear the word “salad.”
I’m talking about a deep round bowl heaped high with colorful dark green leafy vegetables (some with crunch factor), cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, a rainbow colored array of my other favorite veggies, seeds, nuts and a small bit of a favorite organic cheese.
I top it all off with avocado.
I love eating avocado alone, but when you add it to a salad it reveals a super power. The healthy fats increase your body’s ability to absorb beta carotenes by a factor of fifteen. Your lutein absorption also leaps by about five times.
Boosting levels of these antioxidants is great for the health of your eyes and skin. Plus, they help boost immune response, decrease inflammation and reduce markers for heart disease.
It’s incredible! All because of these “superfood combinations.
When you hear the term “superfood,” your thoughts may jump to exotic and expensive ingredients found only in specialty food stores. So you may be surprised to learn many of the foods already in your kitchen are considered to be “super.”
Broccoli, tomatoes, blueberries, avocado… Each of these foods are superfoods because they deliver high levels of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that fight inflammation, disease and aging.
Other Superfood Combinations to Try
After you’ve enjoyed a rainbow salad topped with avocado, you should give some of these other combinations a try.
Combine extra virgin olive oil and tomatoes to magnify the amount of lycopene your body absorbs. And honestly… who doesn’t love a good marinara?
Plus, you’ll boost your levels of carotene — a nutrient well-known for warding off cancers like 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.
Let’s see… 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 combinations 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 eat Mediterranean style in your own home.
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.