What do you like to eat?
What are your favorite foods?
Do you know that it may be good to eat things you may not enjoy, but may be good for you?
Are you aware that there can be harmony in mixing and matching some of your favorites and not so favorite foods?
The food pairing suggestions I am sharing here are not meant to be hard and fast rules to follow, but to help us have fun with our food while we prepare and create our meal specials. These mixes and matches provide us with simple approaches towards eating, which is important considering that our bodies handle and digest foods differently as we age.
Taking time to properly pair and combine our foods, provide benefits; in that there is evidence that it helps to improve our digestion and the absorption of nutrients in a way that is helpful to those of us who have a sensitive or compromised digestive system.
Macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrate and fat digest at different speeds, and are often consumed in large amounts. Each of these requires the release of different enzymes and digestive juices to break them down for the effective and complete process of digestion to take place. When we eat these foods at the same time, they having different digestive requirements, symptoms such as gas, bloating, belching and upset stomach may occur.
Arugula, Kale and You
Combining baby arugula, kale, extra virgin olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon juice is very beneficial to the body, in boosting the absorption of antioxidants to help fight free radicals in our system. These leafy greens also contain lutein which is known to reduce inflammation and helps in preventing disorders such as age-related macular degeneration, (a common cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older). Beta carotene, another antioxidant, is also found in these green leafy goodies that have been proven to help lower inflammation in adults.
Love the Berries
Did you know that berries are some of the healthiest foods around? They are high in fiber and low in calories. Many of these berries have proven benefits for a healthy heart, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. They are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help in keeping Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease at bay. Frequent consumption of these also helps to keep our memories sharp. There are several berry-combination smoothies that I have included in my daily diet. These serve as a meal replacement or to meal complement, the choice is yours. My favorite is ‘berries combined with home-made almond milk, flaxseed, chia and hemp seed with a bit of organic honey’.
Beans and Lentils
Being a premenopausal woman puts you at risk for both calcium and iron deficiency, which is really saying that your bones may be weak and brittle and you are not producing enough healthy red blood cells. Eating iron-rich and calcium-rich foods, such as beans and lentils together may provide you with the nutrients you need and a very satisfied palate. To enhance the body’s ability to absorb the iron from this combination, a bit of citrus in the form of freshly squeezed lemon juice, or the zest/rind of half of a lemon may be added to the dish. I have been experimenting with different combinations of peas, beans, and lentils and my husband and I love them. We sometimes replace meats for a whole week, while we feast on the various stews.
We have done the Goya 16 bean stew, the red kidney beans and black beans stew, and the mixed lentils stew/soup. They may be ‘jazzed-up’ with coconut milk, turmeric, Jamaican scotch bonnet peppers, and other natural seasonings. You may put your own spin accordingly. Recipes can be shared on request.
Couscous Raisin Salad
A few years ago I was searching for healthy food substitutes that I could use to replace rice once in a while. I came upon a number of different grains, some described as ‘superfoods’. I read what I could find on them and their preparation. I immediately took an interest in couscous because it was the easiest to prepare. I bought the product, prepared it according to the instructions on the package and was a little disappointed in the taste. My husband was unimpressed.
I was insistent on us enjoying this product, hence the desire to find a way to enhance the flavor. So the next time I decided to prepare it, I came up with a plan to use coconut milk instead of plain boiled water. I spiced up the coconut milk, brought it to a boil, allowed it to reduce a bit, then added the couscous, and the rest is history. We enjoyed it, it was indeed very good.
I continued to experiment with it by adding different ingredients to make the liquid/water tasty. I have olive oil, butter, coconut oil, raisins, carrots, cranberries, red onions, escallion (Jamaican seasoning plant), and other spices. Today my favorite style is to make it into a salad with raisins and other veggies.
Whether your preference is smoothie, salad or stew, there are benefits in pairing and combining foods. Smoothie with berries and spinach, or berries and almond with other ingredients, studies have shown that over a period of time, fitness conscious women could benefit from a reduction in post-workout inflammation, improved breathing and oxygen flow during workout. The components of the spinach help the muscles work more efficiently during the exercise period, the berries may help to decrease muscle soreness after the exercise.
The overall health benefits of consuming the fiber from the beans and lentils are responsible for several health benefits. They are high in protein and low in fat and make an excellent substitute for meat. Among the many benefits of lemon, it provides Vitamin C and aids in weight control and digestive health.
Try Them Out
I have presented you with a few combinations which you may try. I would be happy were you to incorporate your own and provide me with feedback.
I am pleased to have written this piece. Ladies who are trying to bump up their healthy eating habits may refer to these suggestions. It is my absolute pleasure to share with you, my sisters and I sincerely hope that you may benefit from using them.