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Episode 188: 6 Ways to Supercharge Your Superfoods

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I'm always the person who's looking to get any extra edge I can when it comes to my health. I don't want to be 'normal'. I don't want to be 'average'. I want to optimize my body and my health and see how far I can go. 

But I know not everyone is like me. Some of us are just trying to put one foot in front of the other and get to a place of even feeling ok on a day-to-day basis. Which is totally fine too!

Whichever category you fit into, this episode is for you because we are going over ways to get more bang for your buck when it comes to your healthy choices. 

By making these tiny shifts, you'll be giving your body that extra edge, while also maximizing your results with virtually no added effort. 

Have I hooked you? Let's dive in...

1. Pair turmeric and black pepper. 

"Research suggests that curcumin can help in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. It may also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and subsequent performance in active people." -National Library of Medicine

By eating a bit of black pepper with your turmeric, you're boosting your absorption of curcumin by up to 2000% since the piperine in pepper protects it from destructive enzymes in the body.

2. Eat some legumes with your grains.

We all know the importance of protein in our diet - it helps us build muscle tissue, it leaves us satiated, and it's extremely hard to convert to fat.

But to get the full benefits, we need complete proteins. Meaning we need proteins with all 9 essential amino acids, which unfortunately most plants don't have, or even if they do they usually don't have enough on their own.

However if we combine plants like grains and legumes, we get all of those essential amino acids and can reap the benefits of getting more protein in our diet.

This could look like combining beans and rice, or chickpeas with quinoa, or having a handful of peanuts with your oatmeal.

 3. Chop up garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, and scallions and let them rest for 10 minutes before cooking.

These foods have a powerful compound in them called allicin which "has been linked to garlic's ability to improve cholesterol profiles, protect against high blood pressure, and improve immunity" -Eat This, Not That

It also is what gives these foods their antibacterial and antifungal properties that can protect us from infection.

However, we need alliin and alliinase to combine in order to make allicin and these molecules and enzymes are stored separately within the plants. So we need to chop them and break down the cell walls for them to combine and work their magic.

Why let them rest for 10 minutes? Because we need to leave enough time for the reaction to occur. If you cook it too soon, the alliinase loses its properties and the reaction stops. 

4. Lemon and tea and lemon and iron.

This one makes me happy because I add lemon to everything. 

Adding lemon to tea helps you absorb up to 5 times as many catechins (a compound in tea that's been shown to reduce oxidative stress, protect our cells from damage, reduce risks of cancer, aid in weight loss, and help regulate blood pressure).

These catechins are unstable in non-acidic environments like our intestines, so by adding lemon we increase acidity allowing for 80% more catechins to survive the digestion process, which in turn allows us to absorb more.

Lemon also helps us absorb iron which is particularly important when we're getting iron from plants as this is non-heme iron which by nature is significantly less bioavailable.

So next time you're enjoying an iron-rich salad with spinach and kale or a hearty bowl of lentil soup, add in a squeeze of lemon to up your iron absorption and improve growth and development, oxygenation of cells, and hormone creation.

5. Eat protein and fat with carbs.

If you want to feel more satiated, lose weight more easily, improve your energy, reduce fatigue, reduce cravings, and stabilize your mood, you're going to want to prioritize stabilizing your blood sugar. And one of the best ways to do that is always pairing slower burning fats and proteins with faster burning carbohydrates.

This might look like eating some sunbutter with your banana. Or munching on a hard boiled egg with those crackers. Or adding some chicken and olives to your pita and hummus snack.

6. Combine healthy fat with tomatoes.

Tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene which is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to help with heart health, sun protection, reduced risk of certain types of cancer, alleviating male infertility, reducing DNA damage, and reducing signs of aging.

But because it's a fat soluble compound, we need to eat fat to absorb over 4 times as much of it. So next time you're slicing up a tomato, give it a little drizzle of olive oil or pair it with a few slices of avocado to reap all the benefits!


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