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All About That Food Synergy

Hello Loyal Soup People! We all know the benefits of eating foods containing plant based protein, fiber, anti-oxidants, etc. But did you know that eating certain foods together boosts their health benefits even more? This concept is called food synergy – the benefits of two foods eaten together is greater than the sum of their two parts. It turns out that adding spices to your soup provides more than just flavor!

Here are a few tips to harness the power of food synergy:

– Add fat to your salad. A study published in the 2017 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate salads containing healthy fat improved their absorption rates of important vitamins and nutrients including vitamins A, E, & K, beta-carotene, and lutein. So, while it may seem like a healthy choice to eat a “naked” salad – adding healthy fat will make it even better for you! Add nuts, avocado, seeds, and/or a light olive oil based dressing (not ranch!!).

– Add spices to your cooking. We’ve all heard about the potential health benefits of turmeric. The benefits are tied to its high levels of curcumin – a bioactive compound that we have trouble absorbing on its own. However, when turmeric is combined with piperine, a naturally occurring chemical found in black pepper, our curcumin absorption rates go up. Add turmeric root or powder to your cooking, season with salt and pepper, and start absorbing that curcumin!

– Pair probiotics with fiber. We’re learning so much about how probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria) can help our digestive systems. However, they can’t survive on their own! These bacteria need plant-based fiber to grow and thrive. If you’re consuming foods that contain probiotics such as saukeraut and kombucha, be sure to eat a lot of fiber-rich foods as well – such as legumes, whole grains, fruits, and nuts.

– Pair iron with vitamin C. The type of iron found in plant based foods such as lentils, tofu, and spinach is not well absorbed by our bodies on its own. Luckily, vitamin C can come to the rescue. Pairing iron-rich foods with those heavy in vitamin-C such as bell peppers, citrus fruits, and broccoli, aid in our bodies’ absorption of plant-based iron.

What does all this mean? Have fun in the kitchen! Spice up your foods, add fat to your salads, and get creative with your flavors. Your taste buds aren’t the only things benefiting!

*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!

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