Food Pairing is a science into itself. More than just a taste experience, it is important for our health. Ever so often I dust off and update this blip on food pairing because the topic is so relevant. Most of these pairings may seem natural to you, but all of them are based on sound food chemistry. – jughandle
Heard of pairing wine with food for the best flavor experience? Sure, but I bet most of you didn’t know that pairing certain foods together can help you fight cancer, did you? The right pairings can also ward off depression and aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. The following information is from an article at Rodale.com
1. Steak and Rosemary
The Health Benefit: The combination helps in neutralizing carcinogens created when meat is cooked above 325 degrees Fahrenheit
Why It Works: Rosemary is rich in rosmarinic and carnosic acids that stop cancer-causing heterocyclic amines from forming on cooked meat. “People have concerns about eating grilled meat,” says Dr. Ramsey, who keeps potted rosemary in his kitchen. “This combination is one way that I like to use food synergy to increase the health of a dish.”
Try It! Snip a sprig of rosemary, remove the main stem, chop, and add to olive oil, salt, and lemon juice to create a healthy marinade. Choose grass-fed beef for healthier fat ratios and to avoid veterinary drug residues.
2. Beet Greens and Chickpeas
The Health Benefit
: Natural mood boost from a much-needed mineral
Why It Works: Magnesium is essential for low anxiety and happiness, but 70 percent of Americans don’t get enough. Beet greens are loaded with the calming mineral, and the B6 in chickpeas maximizes magnesium absorption in the body.
Try It! Look for local, organic beet greens this spring at your farmer’s market. Soak and cook dried, organic chickpeas to avoid hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be found in canned foods.
3. Fish and Broccoli
The Health Benefit: A delicious way to stifle cancer growth
Why It Works: Many fish, salmon, and mackerel are rich in the thyroid-protecting, cancer-fighting mineral selenium. When paired with broccoli, a veggie rich in sulforaphane, the compounds are 13 times more effective in slowing cancer cell growth than when eaten solo.
Try It! Remember to avoid farmed salmon and choose wild-caught Alaskan salmon to avoid parasites and contamination that can kill off the wild salmon.
4. Red Wine and Almonds
Why It Works: The antioxidant resveratrol in red wine and almond’s naturally high levels of vitamin E work together in the blood and improve blood vessel health.
Try It! Look for organic wine, since conventional versions have been found to harbor pesticide residues. (The same holds true for the almonds.)
5. Green Tea and Lemon
Why It Works: Vitamin C-rich lemons help to maximize your body’s ability to absorb catechins, the heroic disease-fighting antioxidant found in green tea.
Try It! If you drink tea, consider investing in organic loose-leaf tea and a stainless steel, reusable tea infuser to reduce packaging waste.
6. Turmeric & Black Pepper
Why It Works: Turmeric is one spice that everyone needs to use. Just be sure to combine it with black pepper, which helps your body absorb a thousand times more curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric.
7. Pastured Pork and Sauerkraut
Why It Works: Steering clear of starches when eating meat will help your digestive system focus on breaking down the animal protein. A bonus is boosting absorption and reducing uncomfortable bloating, heartburn, gas, and stomach pain. Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, bolster digestion-friendly probiotics in your body, building up your immune system in the process.
Try It! Opt for grass-fed pork. It’s free of health-harming antibiotics and chemical preservatives and rich in thiamine, a B vitamin vital for proper nervous system functioning. As a general rule of thumb, Gates notes that animal protein meals go best with non-starchy vegetables like green beans, broccoli, kale, collards, and spinach.
8. Eggs and Cheese
Why It Works: Naturally occurring vitamin D in egg yolks optimizes your body’s absorption of the cheese’s bone- and heart-protecting calcium. Sufficient calcium levels also promote neurotransmitter health and stabilize hormones, which reduces PMS symptoms and weight gain.
Try It! Look for eggs and cheese from grass-fed farm animals. Find local, sustainable sources at LocalHarvest.org.
9. Tortilla and Veggies
The Health Benefit: A flatter belly, thanks to reduce bloating and gassiness
Why It Works: Pairing vegetables with grains or grain-like seeds like millet or quinoa—and leaving out the meat—will reduce unpleasant bloating and gassiness, according to gut guru Gates. Starchy vegetables like artichokes, peas, potatoes, yams, and corn and non-starchy veggies like broccoli, kale, and green beans will keep your gastrointestinal tract on track. “A corn tortilla filled with stirred fried vegetables is great. Try onions, red pepper, zucchini, and broccoli. Season it with Tex Mex seasoning to make a delicious meal. Plus it is so much easier to digest than a tortilla made with beef or chicken,” Gates says.
Try It! Top your tortilla off with a spoonful of cultured veggies to optimize digestion and reduce cravings for sugar later in the day.
10. Fermented Food + Anything
The Health Benefit: Sugar cravings float away with kimchi and other sour superfoods.
Why It Works: “I can’t say enough how wise it is to add a fermented food to any meal—no matter what you are eating,” says Gates. Superstars in the natural food world, fermented foods like kimchi are loaded with feel-good probiotics that not only improve digestion, but also help stave off sugar cravings. “They must be in your program if you are trying to lose weight,” Gates adds. “They taste sour and take away the desire for sweets.”
Try It! Look for jarred kimchi in your supermarket or save money by doing it yourself: The Easiest Way to Ferment Vegetables.