Friday, June 03, 2005

Combine and conquer

We all know that certain foods can be categorized as bona fide cancer preventers. But what do you get when those foods are combined? There are currently 40 studies underway that examine specific food combinations and their preventative health benefits. Early results show that combining foods can offer even greater cancer prevention and overall healthier combinations of nutrients than any one food can offer individually. How about a filet of salmon on a bed of watercress surrounded by a ring of broccoli florets, and crushed walnuts dusted across the top -- sound like an incredible dinner plate at a fancy restaurant? It's also a cancer killer extraordinaire. You see, each of these foods has a cancer-fighting ingredient. But something magical happens when they are combined into one dish. Together, they are particularly high in two nutrients -- sulphoraphane and selenium. The combination of these two nutrients is 13 times more effective than either one alone. The sulphoraphane found in broccoli also has a synergistic relationship with lycopene and with another flavonoid, apigenin, which is found in apples, endive, beans, broccoli, celery, cherries, cloves, grapes, leeks, onions, barley, parsley and tomatoes. Eating meals that combine foods of different colors may also impart improved health benefits over eating any one color of food alone. It's like the new Rubik's cube of food -- the combinations and the beneficial effects could be endless. This may not seem groundbreaking. After all, even though science has always studied one food at a time, we've never eaten that way. But in the next few years you'll be able to combine foods based on more than just how they taste together. You'll be able to design menus for your family based on evidence of their health-protecting value. Entire cookbooks will be designed around the ultimate diets for preventing cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and the many other health challenges that are prominent today. Suddenly the future looks very good -- and healthy.

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