6 Healthy Food Combos to Supercharge (and Synergize!) Your Nutrition
Tea Time, Snack Time Combos
The Superfood: Green Tea
The Sidekick: Black Pepper
Synergize! Green tea alone has been hailed as a superfood for years, due to its rich array of health-boosting properties and zero-calorie cost. A cup of tea goes well with just about anything -- but paired with black pepper? They're an unlikely match, but here's the catch: Green tea is particularly rich in immunity-boosting flavonoids, especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a powerful cancer-fighter. And a 2004 study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating black pepper at the same time as drinking green tea can increase the amount of EGCG absorbed by your body. The researchers say the synergistic ingredient is the component piperine, which increases the bioavailability (or availability to the body) of the EGCG.
Make It Healthier: So maybe mixing black pepper into your tea doesn't sound too tasty, but try adding a pinch to a meal you're eating with tea, or say 'yes' to the waiter holding a pepper shaker over your salad. It could significantly amp up your health benefits.
The Superfood: Apples
The Sidekick: Grapes
Synergize! Remember the catch-phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Try adding a handful of grapes to your crunchy treat, and you may just keep heart disease away. Studies show that these two fruits eaten together make your blood platelets less sticky, making them much less likely to clump together and clog your arteries. Apples contain the quercetin, while grapes contain catechin, both flavonoids, and mixing the two causes a slight anticoagulant effect. This can really help your cardiovascular system, says New York City-based clinical dietician and avid marathoner Jennifer Vimbor.
Make It Healthier: Try another delicious quercetin and catechin-rich food combination: raspberries and red wine. Yum!
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, February 2006.
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