Combining foods increases their nutritional value, health benefits

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, May 28, 2015

By David Crocker

Our society today seems almost obsessed with counting calories, subtracting fat and dividing portions. In and of itself, that isn’t a bad thing. However, in this frenzied attempt to improve health and get fit, many people are missing a viable piece of the health puzzle.
“Adding” certain foods together can dramatically increase their nutritional punch, as well as increase variety and flavor. Here are a few examples of some quick food pairings that taste delightful, and provide great benefits to your diet.

Scrambled eggs and red peppers: This combination is great for smoother skin, because eggs have high quality protein (my favorite source), plus ½ cup of chopped red peppers has more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C need.

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Whole grain cereal with sunflower seeds for better immunity: In addition to the health benefits of whole grains, ½ cup of sunflower seeds provides more than 100 percent of your daily requirement of alpha-tocopherol. This is the most active form of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Salsa and chick peas for lower body weight: Adding chick peas to salsa adds bulk to your diet without adding many calories. This helps you feel fuller, faster and longer. Also, chick peas add needed protein.

Green tea and lemon for lower cancer risk: We all know that green tea is rich in antioxidants, but according to a Purdue University study, adding lemon juice to green tea leads to a fourfold increase in disease fighting catechins. Catechins are a type of antioxidant found in chocolate, berries and apples, but 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 as potent as adding lemon juice.

Water and unsweetened cranberry juice for fewer cavities: Unsweetened cranberry juice prevents the buildup of Streptococcus mutans. This is the bacteria responsible for most cavities.

Salad and canned wild salmon for healthier heart and brain: In addition to the phytonutrients found in garden greens, just three ounces of salmon provides you with half a week’s allowance of omega-3 fats. These fats are linked to a healthy heart and brain. Be sure to choose wild salmon over farm raised though. This will prevent exposure to dioxin, which is a cancer causing chemical found in the feed of farm raised fish varieties.


Try using some of these combinations. You’ll help give your eating regimen the flavorful, nutritional boost it needs.

Diet or exercise question? Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 28 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC Spartanburg baseball team, the S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse College equestrian team. He served as lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency and taught for four semesters at USC Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.