Your Health

Better Together

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Bible)

August is the month of celebrating friendships. You and your friends may have made plans to spend the day together, and some may have even bought friendship bands, too! Did you know that the concept of friendship bands dates back to the Stone Age when hunters and gatherers would exchange hand-made rings to symbolize a strong connection?

Friendship is all about strong connections and relationships. When friends come together as a unit, their strengths are amplified and they bring out the best in each other.

Just like us humans, foods too have ‘special friends’ which when combined not only improve the flavour of the meal, but also enhance nutrient absorption.

Food pairing/combining may seem like a new trend, but it’s actually an age-old tradition, practised from the time of our ancestors. Dal and Rice. Carrots with Peas. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Some combinations are simply better together!

How important is nutrient absorption?

Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in foods help in metabolic processes that are necessary for proper bodily functions. While maintaining a healthy diet is important, do we ever wonder what happens to the food once it reaches our stomachs? Food enters the stomach and is broken down by digestive enzymes. Waste is eliminated as it passes through, while nutrients are further absorbed in the small intestine.

Sadly, sometimes our gut doesn’t always function well. This may lead to poor absorption of nutrients and issues like exhaustion, mental fatigue, poor digestion, or skin disorders.

‘Food Besties’ that enhance nutrient absorption and are better together

Tomatoes and Olive Oil
It is an old Italian tradition to combine tomatoes with olive oil. Research reveals that when combined they boost each other’s health advantages. Lycopene, a potent antioxidant found in abundance in tomatoes, can help prevent conditions like cancer and heart disease. Lycopene is more easily absorbed when olive oil is used. E.g. home-made tomato-olive oil chutney.

Cover of the August 2023 issue of The Teenager Today featuring tennis sensation Carlos Alcaraz.

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Sharleen Zacharia is a trained Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics.

Sharleen Zacharia

Sharleen Zacharia is a trained Nutritionist with a Master’s degree in Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics.