1 + 1 = 5 (Food Synergy)


You don’t have to look far to find out about how important it is to eat fresh, organic produce, healthy fats and sustainably-raised proteins while reducing your intake of processed, “fake” foods.  More stores are carrying organic choices, the popularity of farmers markets is growing and the restaurant scene is turning out more farm-to-table options than ever before. These are all things that put a smile on our face here at Thrive & Dine. 

When it comes to food choices, remember that eating food in its whole form is ideal; a plant is more than the sum of its parts.  We need to look beyond just eating “nutrients” and take advantage of the power that comes from eating food in its whole form.  For example, vitamin C is an important nutrient, but getting your vitamin C from an orange also gives your body important fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B1 and potassium.  Spinach is a good source of iron, but it also gives your body magnesium and vitamins B2 and B6. 

Something else that puts a smile on our face is what we call “superfood synergy”. Simply put, when certain foods are eaten together their nutritional value is boosted in ways that go beyond eating any one of them individually. What does that look like? It’s kind of like 1+1=5.   Here are a few examples:

Eat your spinach with strawberries.  The iron in spinach is better absorbed by the body when eaten with a vitamin C strong food, like strawberries, and is absorbed up to six times better! You can also boost iron absorption by combining black beans with red bell pepper on your next taco night.

Learn from the Italians. Boost the lycopene levels in tomatoes by cooking them with olive oil. Or add some broccoli to those tomatoes and increase the cancer-fighting compounds found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Or combine all three and just imagine the synergy that is possible!

Turmeric is better absorbed when combined with black pepper, kale gets better with almonds and salmon cooked with garlic is a match made in nutritional heaven.

Of all the possible combinations for combining super foods, one of my absolute favorites is to bring together raw cacao and organic blueberries in my morning smoothie. These two super foods contain antioxidants that when combined give a 3x better boost to their nutrient profile (just make sure you’re choosing raw cacao and not processed chocolate).  Add some kale and almonds to the mix and you’ll increase the absorption of vitamin K from the vitamin E in the almonds.   Add a few more super foods and…yum!, you’ll think you’re having dessert for breakfast.

Here’s the recipe for the smoothie

Resources:  www.webmd.com (Elaine Magee), www.time.com/superfoods_better_together