Did you know that even if you eat a ton of turmeric, believing that is it giving you incredible anti-inflammatory benefits, you might not be getting those at all?
A key to health is not what we eat, but what we absorb from what we eat. And some foods are less bioavailable than others, meaning that we do not absorb them and do not attain the health benefits they are claimed to offer. In addition, some foods eaten together have a greater health benefit than each food has separately, such as in the case of antioxidants. This is called the synergistic effect, meaning that the whole is greater than the parts.
A wonderful member of a free Facebook Group I administrate, Raw Souls, asked about food combinations that boost the healthful properties of one or both of the foods. She told us that a friend who had had cancer previously let her know that turmeric and black pepper taken together significantly boost the healthful properties of turmeric. Thus, I have decided to put together a list of foods that optimize the absorbability of each food.
Turmeric and Black Pepper + Tahini + Red Onions= >curcumin
Turmeric has incredible anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and tumor fighting properties due to a plant chemical, curcumin. The problem is that turmeric is not very bioavailable when eaten as is. But, if you add black pepper to turmeric, it will enhance curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times because of piperine, a chemical in black pepper.
You can also mix turmeric with fats, because curcumin is not very water-soluble, but mixing it with any fat upon consumption will help your body absorb it better. I have chosen tahini in this case, as it is a very healthy monounsaturated fat that works as a great base for salad dressings.
Mixing turmeric with the plant pigment quercetin will also work great. Quercetin inhibits an enzyme that deactivates curcumin. Many fruits that are dark red or blue contain quercetin. Vegetables like kale, spinach, raw broccoli, red onions, and fruits like red grapes, berries, and apples will be a great pairing with turmeric.
Tomatoes and Tahini = >lycopene
While tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid that reduces cancer risk and heart disease, its bioavailability can be greatly increased by consuming it with a fat. Lutein absorption, also a carotenoid found in leafy greens, is increased by mixing in some fats.
Lemon + Kale= >iron
Vitamin C, which you can get from lemons and other citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli, increases the absorbability of plant-derived iron found in leeks, kale, mustard greens, and spinach.
Brussel sprouts + tahini = >vitamin K
Vitamin K regulates blood clotting, and is critical to bone health. Because vitamin K is fat soluble, it is best absorbed by eating it together with some fat. I recommend staying away from oils, as they are processed foods and are devoid of many nutrients. Instead, go for nuts and seeds, or nut and seed butters like tahini.
Kale + tahini= >vitamin E
Vitamin E is another vitamin that requires some fat to be best absorbed. This vitamin is an antioxidant that supports our immune system, as well as protects against cancer and heart disease. Tahini is a monounsaturated fat that would be the perfect partner for your vitamin E-rich kale!
Goji Berries + Raspberries = >antioxidants
Studies have found that antioxidants work synergistically; when paired together, the antioxidant response of the whole is greater than the one of each separately. Therefore, taking a single antioxidant supplement can never replace the combined impact of phytochemicals found in fruits and veggies.
Goji berries and raspberries, along with several other berries, are some of the highest antioxidant-containing foods.
Apples + Chocolate = >cardio health
Apples are high in quercetin, the anti-inflammatory flavonoid discussed above. Quercetin has been found to reduce the risk of allergies, heart attack, and several cancers, and is highly concentrated particularly in the skin of apples (but so are pesticides, so be sure to buy organic apples). Chocolate contains the flavonoid catechin, which is an antioxidant that reduces the risk of cancer. Together, catechin and quercetin loosen clumpy blood platelets and improve heart health, breaking up blood clots.
Written by Marina Yanay-Tiner of Soul in the Raw