When two foods come together, their health benefits can be more than double
Powerful food pairings that boost their health benefits
Batman and Robin, Ron Maclean and Don Cherry, Sunday group rides and espresso – some pairs are just meant to be. The same holds true for certain foods. Food synergy occurs when certain components of different edibles and drinks work together to maximize their benefits. Think of it as 1+1=4 instead of 2. The total result is greater than the sum of the individual parts. Start with these good-chemistry eats and sips and watch your health and performance grow exponentially.
“If you want to build more lean body mass, consider a snack teaming up high-protein foods before hitting the sack.”
Dynamic Duo: Tomatoes + Olive Oil To get the most out of your salads, be sure to fatten them up. A number of vegetables, such as tomatoes, carrots and dark leafy greens, are rich in a class of antioxidants known as carotenoids. These antioxidants work to help neutralize free radicals in the body and thereby lessen disease risk and perhaps even improve post-ride recovery. But since carotenoids are fatsoluble, they need to be consumed with a source of fat for optimal absorption in the body. Researchers at Purdue University discovered that monounsaturated fat is particularly effective at making your veggies more potent. Good sources of monounsaturated fat that are ready for any salad include olive oil, nuts like almonds and slices of avocado.
Dynamic Duo: Cereal + Milk After you hop off the saddle, consider taking hold of a bowl and spoon. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that subjects who consumed a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk after cycling for two hours experienced noticeable increases in muscle glycogen and protein synthesis, two markers for better exercise recovery. The carbs in cereal work to restore your muscle energy reserves (glycogen), while the protein in milk kick-starts muscular repair. The quicker you recover, the quicker you can once again push hard on the pedals. Other research has shown that consuming milk post-workout also helps promote rehydration just as well as a sports drink can.
Dynamic Duo: Beans + Bell Pepper Owing to iron’s role in transporting oxygen to working muscles for energy production, cyclists need consistent sources of the dietary mineral. Of course, a hunk of steak is a stellar source, but you can also score some iron from plantbased foods, such as beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, spinach and some whole grains. But there’s a catch: our bodies don’t absorb the form of iron in these plant-based foods very well. Enter vitamin C. This nutrient helps to convert plant iron into a form that is more readily absorbed. In turn, the vitamin makes it easier for you to nail your daily quota. So be sure to organize a play date between iron-containing foods and sources of vitamin C including bell peppers, broccoli, citrus and berries. Dynamic Duo: Greek Yogurt + Hemp Hearts The wrong late-night snacks can lead to waistline repercussions. But, if you want to build more lean body mass, consider a snack teaming up high-protein foods before hitting the sack. A study in Medicineandscienceinsports andexercise determined that ingesting up to 40 g of protein a half-hour before turning in for the night can help promote new muscle growth if exercise occurred earlier in the day. It’s likely that a great deal of muscle building occurs during sleep. Providing muscle cells with the building blocks during this time can bolster the process. More lean body mass in cyclists can improve aerobic capacity, increase muscle efficiency during rides and reduce injury risk. Greek-style yogurt has about double the protein levels found in traditional versions, while nutty tasting hemp hearts contain more protein (10 g in 3 tablespoons) than other seeds making this a musclebuilding power couple.
Dynamic Duo: Green Tea + Lemon Packed with health-boosting antioxidants without a sugary deluge, green tea is one of the healthiest drinks for athletes. A Colorado State University study found the chief antioxidant in green tea, egcg, may work to raise your VO2 max during exercise, a measure of how well your body uses oxygen. egcg may accomplish this feat by increasing blood flow to working muscles. In turns out you can make green tea even more of an antioxidant powerhouse by adding a squirt of lemon. Research shows that citrus juice can increase the amount of egcg and other antioxidants in green tea that are available for the body to absorb. For a thirst-quenching, hydrating summer drink, pour hot water over a few green tea bags in a glass jar, squeeze in the juice from half of a lemon or lime and then chill.