Certain healthy foods can be combined to enhance their synergistic effects in the body. You are not necessarily what you eat; you are what you absorb and utilize inside. Probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods can help fortify the microbiome in the gut to increase nutrient utilization. On the other hand, heavy metals compete with nutrient absorption, robbing you of crucial vitamins and minerals.
The right combination of healthy foods makes all the difference. Here are seven simple tricks you can use in the kitchen to make healthy food even healthier.
Turmeric and black pepper
When adding turmeric spice to dishes, don't forget to add a pinch of black pepper! The powerful antioxidant in turmeric – curcumin – is not easily absorbed in the body. It has been shown that 1/20th of a teaspoon of black pepper can enhance curcumin absorption by over 2,000 percent. Every turmeric remedy or supplement should include a pinch of black pepper for optimal results in the body.
Steamed carrots and tomatoes
Most fruits and vegetables are best eaten raw, to preserve important enzymes; however, when it comes to carrots and tomatoes, cooking can actually enhance the bio-availability of key antioxidants. Steamed carrots release higher levels of beta carotene. Likewise, lightly cooked tomatoes have higher levels of lycopene.
Eat spinach with foods rich in vitamin C
Spinach is prized for its high iron content. This iron is utilized more effectively in the presence of vitamin C and blocked in the presence of calcium. In fact, when 300 milligrams of calcium are eaten within 30 minutes of iron, the iron absorption is significantly reduced. On the other hand, vitamin C has been shown to enhance iron absorption. Just 100 milligrams of Vitamin C boosts the iron bio-availability of one meal by over 400 percent.
Don't exclude the apple's peel
A natural molecule that helps stop allergy attacks is present in the apple peel and not the apple fruit. That molecule is a bioflavonoid called quercetin. There's a greater concentration of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and quercetin in the apple peel, so eat the whole fruit, not just the sweet part.
Add healthy fats to salads
Salads are full of untapped potential waiting to be set free. For example, the antioxidants in carrots are made more bio-available in the presence of healthy fats. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts or seeds should be added to salads to boost the utilization of beta carotene and other vitamins.
Dice up garlic before cooking
Garlic contains a powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal compound called allicin. According to Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute, allicin is made more potent when garlic is chopped up and allowed to sit for 10 minutes. This allows an enzyme called alliinase to catalyze the allicin into formation and make it more available.
Dynamic duo: Green tea and citrus fruits
Green tea contains its own antioxidants called catechins. A cup of green tea a day is a smart preventative measure against heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's. Studies show that catechins are more readily digested in the presence of citrus fruits. A lemon or orange may boost catechin utilization from 20 percent to 98 percent.
Just because a food is deemed to be healthy is not a guarantee that its principle components are being digested and utilized properly. By establishing a healthy digestive system and combining the right nutrients together, healthy foods can live up to their name.
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