The applause got steadily louder as Chef Bryan Thomas expertly tossed three knives, each spinning vertically in the air. He caught the last one and brought it down cleanly on the onion, quickly slicing it. He looked up at the group gathered around the cooking table and nodded his thanks as he pushed it aside and reached for the tomatoes. “The reason I choose to make this broccoli and tomato recipe and top it with vegan parmesan cheese is that it’s the perfect marriage of ingredients that amplify the other’s nutritional benefits. In other words, food synergy where nutrients work together and increase their health effects.”
LJ raised his hand, “Chef, I’m glad you brought this topic up. Most of us are just beginning to understand individual vitamins and minerals are good at helping maintain health, but when coupled synergistically, their interaction produces greater benefits.”
“You are right, LJ,” Chef Bryan said, “as a nutrition-trained chef, I am all for eating whole foods for this very reason. So, the lycopene, vitamins A and C in these tomatoes will bind with the phytochemicals in the broccoli and the compounds in the onions to help boost immunity and combat cancer cells. The fat in the parmesan cheese will increase the absorption of the veggies’ nutrients.”
Annie sipped her Avocado Smoothie with Kiwi and Lime, “This is delicious. Did you make this because Kiwi has more vitamin C than oranges, and the fat from the avocado helps your body absorb Kiwi’s carotenoids that fight ailments like heart disease, macular degeneration, and cataracts?”
“I did. Healthy fats like avocados, soybeans, nuts, olive oil, and chia seeds boost the absorption of antioxidants such as beta-carotene and lutein, which fight cell-damaging free radicals for healthier aging. The lime adds iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B, which avocados help the body absorb more efficiently.”
“LJ nodded, “My favorite breakfast includes eggs, toast, and orange juice. It’s a healthy marriage of the fat in eggs joining with the oranges to help the body absorb the Vitamin D in the yolk better.”
“That’s right,” said Annie. “I like eggs for breakfast too, but my favorite snack is dark chocolate which contains catechins, and a big fresh apple rich in flavonoids. The pair promotes skin and heart health.”
“Nice,” nodded Chef Bryan. “The Mediterranean diet is one of the easiest ways to practice food synergy. It is a perfect union of whole grains, plants, legumes, and fish, coupled with healthy monounsaturated fats like olives, olive oil, and walnuts. Recent research shows the Mediterranean diet helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and death.”
“Chef, what is the role of supplements in food synergy,” asked Annie.
“Eating whole food daily is the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain health. Nutrition research shows when nutrients are isolated, such as supplements, they don’t seem to protect against disease as effectively as the whole foods they come from. As isolated vitamins and minerals, they are divorced from synergistic relationships.”
Bryan started adding food to the plates before him, “the most important takeaways about food synergy is to eat a combination of whole foods close to their natural state; it’s the kind of marriage that brings out the best in one another. Eating this way every day enhances the chances for a long healthy life.”
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.