Over the summer, I avoided artificial sugars and processed foods and embraced green smoothies, salads and açaí bowls. Just when I thought I was being super healthy, my aunt who is an expert at Ayurvedic medicine told me that I should pay attention to the way I was mixing my foods.
All foods are made up of chemical compounds and when you eat, your body breaks down the food to absorb the basic nutrients. The nutrients in certain foods help the body absorb the nutrients in other foods and so by mixing them together, you will give your body the ultimate nourishment it craves. Here are a couple of tricks to help you.
1. Add a pinch of black pepper to your curry/turmeric latte.
Black pepper contains a compound called piperine and turmeric contains a compound called curcumin. Mixing these foods together enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times. This will help you reap ALL of the yellow goodness.
2. Squeeze a lime over your salad.
There are two types of iron—heme iron that is found in meats and is easily absorbed by the body and non-heme iron that is found in vegetables and is more difficult to absorb.
When they're digested together, vitamin C combines with non-heme iron to form a compound that's more easily absorbed. Instead of spending money on packaged dressings, you can make your own here.
3. Add bell peppers, carrots and other colorful vegetables to your eggs.
4. Eat your lentil soup/broth/salad with rice.
Any combination of approximately 20 percent lentils to 80 percent rice has all the necessary acids, making a complete protein. This is why the old Indian practice of mixing Dal and Chawal is being recognized as a super healthy meal now. You can try to to make this for yourself here, but don't forget to eat it with rice.
5. Keep eating guac!
Mixing avocados and tomatoes is perfect because the fat in avocados helps absorb the antioxidant lycopene in tomatoes. Research at Ohio State University found when avocado was combined with salsa, people absorbed four times the amount of lycopene than when they ate the salsa alone. So keep gorging on guac (and the chips, if you will)!
As college students, any effort we make to be healthy will not go to waste. It is sensible and easy to keep eating what you're eating while only increasing your body's ability to absorb the nutrients by mixing certain foods together.