Joan in Pudsey October 29, 2014 at 8:24 am #27
I found your website when I was looking for a healthy food combinations chart. I can see that I should combine some acid forming foods with some alkaline foods. But I’m confused about how to do this and how it helps my health.
I’m a little overweight and I want to eat more healthily. What are the best food combinations for a healthy diet?
Thank you Joan, and welcome to my Healthy Eating Forum.
Though I’ve been aware of food interactions for some time, I’ve never really considered it – until now.
Thanks to your post, I’ve investigated this topic. I’ve found good news and bad news.
The good news is that there is some science that measures how some food combinations are more beneficial for certain health conditions, compared to the individual foods eaten separately.
The bad news is that I cannot find a comprehensive list to use as a basis for a chart. The nearest thing I can find for now is Healthy Food Combinations Chart.
This chart is not ideal, as the source material is not very strong. Despite being widely referred to in books and Internet articles, the science is not well documented, with no proper citation. At least one suggested combination is attributed to the wrong source.
I’ve decided to use the report as a starting point for my new project to create a comprehensive Healthy Food Combinations Chart. I will examine each of the claims, and check for later research. Then I can grade the suggestions for food combinations according to the quality of supporting evidence.
If there are any particular combinations that interest you, or any specific diseases you would like me to look at, please let me know by replying to this topic, or by starting a new topic.
I’ve just found a relevant report:
Liu, Rui Hai. “Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 78, no. 3 (2003): 517S-520S.
We also studied the total antioxidant activity and synergy relationships between different fruit combinations, with results showing that plums had the highest antioxidant activity and that combinations of fruit resulted in greater antioxidant activity that was additive and synergistic. We proposed that the additive and synergistic effects of phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables are responsible for their potent antioxidant and anticancer activities, and that the benefit of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is attributed to the complex mixture of phytochemicals present in whole foods (31–33). This partially explains why no single antioxidant can replace the combination of natural phytochemicals in fruit and vegetables in achieving the health benefits. There are ≈8000 phytochemicals present in whole foods. These compounds differ in molecular size, polarity, and solubility, and these differences may affect the bioavailability and distribution of each phytochemical in different macromolecules, subcellular organelles, cells, organs, and tissues. Pills or tablets simply cannot mimic this balanced natural combination of phytochemicals present in fruit and vegetables.
Our work suggests that to improve their nutrition and health, consumers should be getting antioxidants from a diverse diet and not from expensive nutritional supplements, which do not contain the balanced combination of phytochemicals found in fruit and vegetables and other whole foods. More important, obtaining antioxidants from dietary intake by consuming a wide variety of foods is unlikely to result in consumption of toxic quantities because foods originating from plants contain many diverse types of phytochemicals in varying quantities. Furthermore, the health benefits of the consumption of fruit and vegetables extend beyond lowering the risk of developing cancers and cardiovascular diseases; this consumption also has preventive effects on other chronic diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, central neurodegenerative diseases, and diabetes.
Increasing the consumption of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and soy is a practical strategy for consumers to optimize their health and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Use of dietary supplements, functional foods, and nutraceuticals is increasing as industry is responding to consumers’ demands. However, there is a need for more information about the health benefits and possible risks to ensure the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements. It is recommended that consumers follow the US Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines to meet their nutrient requirements for health improvement and disease prevention. We believe that the evidence suggests that antioxidants are best acquired through whole-food consumption, not as a pill or an extract.
So rather than spend time looking for specific combinations. Perhaps the best strategy is to eat the widest possible range of whole foods.
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