Give your eating regimen the flavorful, nutritional boost it needs.

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our society today seems almost obsessed with counting calories, subtracting fat grams, and dividing portions. In and of itself, this isn’t a bad thing. However, in this frenzied attempt to improve health, lose fat, and get fit, many people are missing a viable piece of the health puzzle.
Putting certain healthful foods together can dramatically increase their nutritional punch, as well as increase variety and flavor.
Here are a few examples of some quick to prepare food pairings that taste great, and provide wonderful benefits to your diet.
1. Scrambled eggs plus red, yellow, or orange peppers. This combination is great to provide smoother skin, because eggs have high quality protein, plus, just ½ cup of chopped red peppers has more than 100% of your daily vitamin C need.
2. Whole grain cereal plus sunflower seeds for better immunity. In addition to the many healthful benefits of whole grains, ½ cups of sunflower seeds provides more than 100% of your daily requirement of alpha-tocopherol or vitamin E. This is the most active form of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.
3. Salsa plus chickpeas for lower body weight. Adding chickpeas to salsa adds bulk to your diet, without adding many calories. This helps you feel fuller, faster. Also, chickpeas add needed protein.
4. Green tea plus lemon for lower cancer risk. We all know green teas are rich in antioxidants, but according to one Purdue university study, adding lemon juice to green tea leads to a four-fold increase in disease fighting catechins. Catechins are a type of antioxidant found in chocolate, berries, and apples, but found in the greatest abundance in the leaves of the green tea plant. Adding orange, lime, and grapefruit juices to green tea, while still effective, were not nearly as potent as lemon juice.
5. Water plus unsweetened cranberry juice for fewer cavities. Unsweetened cranberry juice, while sometimes hard to find (try your local health-food store), prevents the buildup of “streptococcus mutans”. This is the bacteria most responsible for tooth decay.
6. Salad plus canned wild salmon for a healthier heart and brain. In addition to the phytonutrients (healthful chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants) found in garden greens, just three ounces of salmon provides you with half a week’s allowance of omega-3 fatty acids. These “good for you” fats are very much, linked to a healthy heart and brain. Be sure to choose wild caught salmon over farm raised though. This will prevent exposure to dioxin, a cancer causing chemical found in the feed of  many farm raised fish varieties, sold for retail.
Try using some of these combinations. You’ll help give your eating regimen the flavorful, nutritional boost it needs.
Diet or fitness question? Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 27 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the  USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team. He served as a water safety consultant to the United States Marine Corps., Lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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