I love Sundays, I get to sleep until 6 am, get to have a good workout with my son, enjoy a leisurely breakfast (the only day of the week that I don’t have goat yogurt with berries-I live such an exciting life), and get to work on my book. I spoke earlier about food pairings; combining foods to increase the bioavailability of the nutrients in both. Here are some others.

Fats and carotenoids: Fats make lycopene much more bioavailable. Tomatoes, which are rich in lycopene, provide even more of this nutrient when paired with olive oil, avocado, nuts, or dairy. Lycopene is known to lower risks for cancers and cardiovascular disease. Lutein, and Zeaxanthan, other carotenoids, are protective against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a potentially blinding disease. These two also made more bioavailable when paired with fats. Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthan are kale and other dark green leafy veges, and eggs. Pair them with nuts or avocado, or olive oil.

broccoli and tomatoes: Pairing these two prevents prostate cancer; in fact, they reduced cancer tumors in rats better than any other method of treatment other than castration. A recipe from howtolivealongerlife.com suggests adding diced tomatoes and onion to steamed broccoli and garlic side dishes, or shredding a small amount of broccoli into your tomato sauces. Since both foods are so good for you, and they taste good, it’s not hard to eat them several times per week.

Turmeric and black pepper:  I espoused the many benefits of turmeric before, and I will review them once again. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects have been well-documented in science. There is ongoing research into turmeric’s effects on Alzheimer’s, fighting various cancer’s including breast cancer, and arthritis. The problem with turmeric is that the active ingredient, curcumin, makes up only two to three percent of the total, and curcumin is poorly absorbed by the human body. Black pepper to the rescue. Black pepper contains peperdine, which increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 1-2 thousand percent. If you’re cooking with turmeric, adding black pepper is no problem. If you take turmeric orally, in powder form (1 Tbsp), as I do, you have to be more creative. I sprinkle black pepper into my pomegranate juice (just a little); I really can’t taste it anyway.

 Go Nuts: A new meta-analysis of 25 studies showed that most nuts; pistachios, pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and cashews, improved blood lipids in all subjects, men and women. Nuts lowered LDL and total cholesterol, and improved the all-important HDL/Total cholesterol ratio. They also have a lot of fiber.

Flavonols, nutrient compounds found in cocoa, red wine, grapes, tea, and other fruits and veges, are very protective against damage from strokes. They appear to relax blood vessel walls.

Finally, vitamin D is getting a lot of love lately. It decreases the risks for falls and fractures, and lowers the chance of getting colon cancer by 40%. I aim for 2000 IU’s daily.

I was a bit long-winded today, but like I said earlier, I love Sundays.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.