As the “superfood” trend has progressed, a really beautiful thing has happened: The world is suddenly realizing just how important and powerful what we eat is. The other great discovery is how many foods out there are providing us with some very serious health benefits and disease prevention. Whether or not you’ve jumped on the superfood bandwagon, it doesn’t change the fact that a tomato is a tomato, a blueberry a blueberry, and we should be eating them both.
Superfoods have no official defining characteristics or medical requirements, but generally they are foods that offer an abundance of health benefits, such as anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. While normal foods may have nutrients, superfoods bring them in bulk and/or possess harder to find elements like B12 or Omega-3. Superfoods come in many sizes and shapes, from exotic spices like turmeric to run-off-the-mill, on-every-sandwich tomato.
It’s a good idea to combine superfoods so that they play off of each other’s powers to become even more beneficial. Yep, that’s possible. Here’s some tips:
Iron and Vitamin C
Iron is a very important nutrient, and integral to having healthy blood and getting oxygen throughout our body. In order to absorb iron, the body needs Vitamin C, so with some simple deductions, we can note that when consuming foods high in iron — spinach, kale, dark chocolate, tofu, pumpkin seeds, etc. — it would be a good idea to combine them with foods high in Vitamin C — peppers, citrus, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, etc. Vitamin C helps absorb iron while it builds up immune systems and gives us energy. So, here are some common superfood combos with accompanying recipes:
Dark Chocolate and Citrus (or Berries)
Tofu and Broccoli (Or Peppers)
Lycopene and Monounsaturated “The Good” Fat
Tomatoes have a lot of a wonderful little anti-oxidant called lycopene, as do other foods like guava, papaya, grapefruit and watermelon. Lycopene is great at preventing heart disease and warding off cancer, the top two killers of Americans. If one were interested in making said lycopene a super version of itself, studies suggest that combining it with some healthy monounsaturated fats — like those found in avocadoes, nuts, seeds, olives and cacao—multiply the powers of lycopene. Additionally, monounsaturated fats help with cholesterol, heart disease and blood sugar. Here are some delicious combinations just scream out to us:
Tomato and Avocado (or Olives)
Fruit and Granola
Cut up some fresh guava, papaya and watermelon, then top it with Seeds and Goji Berry Granola or Peanut Butter-Maple-Pecan and “Coconut Bacon” Granola
Catechins and Vitamin C
Green tea, though just a beverage, is and has been for very long time super well respected in the superfood world. It has crazy antioxidants that work hard for the heart and the brain, as well as hates cancer. Citrus fruits are no slouches, either, when it comes to being vitamin-packed and body bolstering. They are renowned for warding off colds, and limes particularly have battled well with scurvy. Combine the two and the benefits are expounded. This team makes all the superfood combo lists.
Green Tea and Citrus
Green tea, hot or cold, with fresh squeezed citrus juice
Cocoa and Citrus
Cocoa also contains catechins, so mix it with some citrus and voila.
These are three variations, two of which provide loads of possibilities, for getting the most out of the food proclaimed to provide the most. As a rule of thumb, Vitamin C and monounsaturated fats are great enablers for the minerals, nutrients and anti-oxidants that do the body good. The combinations are easy and plentiful, with room for experiment and safe havens that are familiar. The point is that the right amalgamations make our food even more powerful.
Image source: Tomato Avocado Mushroom Corn Soup