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Food Combining: Myths and Facts

Published : 08/28/2017 16:50:42
Categories : News

Some health myths never die. One of these myths is the claim that eating foods in certain orders or combinations is vital for health. For example, you may have heard that it’s best to eat fruits raw, and on an empty stomach, because otherwise they will ferment or rot in the stomach. That’s a myth. You may have also heard that you shouldn’t consume scratch and protein together (think of steak and frites) because they are digested at different speeds, and as a result, combining these two food groups together may cause a “traffic jam” in your stomach. That’s also a myth.

But the facts are clear. There is overwhelming scientific evidence in support of consuming a varied, balanced diet, and not in any specific order. In fact, we know that most vitamins and minerals are best absorbed and utilized when consumed as part of a complex mixture of food. With that being said, there are a few combinations that are recommended by food scientists and nutritionist, but that list is short. Here are two combinations that aren’t a myth!

Vitamin C and Iron

There are two forms of dietary iron: Heme iron, which comes from meat, and non-heme iron, which comes from both meat and plant sources. Unlike heme iron, non-heme iron is not well absorbed by the body. However, a small tweak to your diet can optimize the absorption of non-heme iron, and it’s simple - just add Vitamin C to your non-heme rich foods!

So, for your next meal, combine foods rich in vitamin C (such as citrus fruits like lemons and oranges and clementine, or bell peppers) with plant-based sources of iron (such as spinach, beans or fortified cereals). This combination will help your body absorb the iron that it needs! This tip is especially important for vegetarians or vegans who rely heavily on plant based sources of iron for their diet.

Carotenoids and Fat

Carotenoids are compounds in vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach and broccoli. Consuming carotenoids has been shown to reduce the risk of several cancers like breast, cervical, ovarian, and colorectal cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. But, carotenoids, like other fat-soluble vitamins, need dietary fat in order to be absorbed by the body. So, if you are consuming carotenoid-rich vegetables without any fat (like eating carrot sticks for a snack, or a salad with fat-free dressing), you may be missing out on the health benefits.

So, how can you get these powerful antioxidants without too much fat? Try adding some cheese or a little olive oil to your salad, or top your steamed broccoli with a dash of olive oil or a tiny bit of butter, or try to dip your carrots in guacamole.

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