4 Powerful Food Combinations

Did you know that you can actually give yourself a health boost by pairing up particular foods? Some foods, while okay on their own, become nutritional powerhouses when eaten in combination with other foods. And some foods can actually cancel out others' negative effects. So don't just hit the supermarket aisles for random items. Check out our suggested meals and snacks to get the most out of every bite.

  • Salad with full-fat dressing. Yes, the shelves are full of fat-free and low-fat salad dressings, but guess what? Dutifully downing those leafy greens with some fat means you'll get the maximum benefit from the anti-cancer properties they possess. A study at Iowa State University had people eating spinach, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and carrots topped with Italian dressing that was either full fat, reduced fat or fat free. Blood samples were taken every hour for 11 hours following the meal. Researchers found that the fat-free eaters absorbed almost no carotenoids from their salads. The reduced-fat eaters got some nutrients, but it was the full-fat eaters who absorbed the most lycopene and alpha- and beta-carotene from their food. Don't want all the calories in full-fat dressing? Try adding a few slices of avocado or a small amount of cheese to your veggies instead.
  • Whole-grain toast with eggs. If you have a habit of grabbing a bagel or muffin for breakfast, break it. While processed carbohydrates like these may be tasty, the glucose they release into your system is quickly absorbed, setting you up for a blood-sugar crash mid-morning. Better for you: A healthful carb, such as whole-grain toast or fruit, paired with a protein such as eggs or lean bacon. Protein slows the absorption of glucose, which will help keep you fuller longer and give you fiber to boot.
  • Grilled beef with herbs. The barbecue is calling to you, so get the flame going--but have some spices on hand. While science has shown that grilling meat over high heat produces carcinogens, a marinade made with herbs such as rosemary, basil, marjoram and thyme can counter them. A Kansas State University study demonstrated that these herbs are rich in carnosic acid, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid, compounds that counteract the carcinogens created by the grilling.
  • Apples and chocolate. Apples contain a particularly potent anti-inflammatory substance called quercetin, which has been shown to quell allergies as well as lower the risk of heart attack, cancer and other diseases. Chocolate contains catechins, which slash the risk of artery hardening and cancer. Eaten together, quercetin and catechins can reduce the stickiness of blood platelets, which gives cardiovascular health a boost. Savor your daily Red Delicious with a square of premium dark chocolate for maximum benefits.



Iowa State University, http://www.public.iastate.edu/~nscentral/news/04/jul/whitebetac.shtml

Kansas State University, http://foodsci.k-state.edu/DesktopModules/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=3266