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Beware! These 5 Food Pairings Could Turn Toxic

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Did you know that the food you eat carelessly could be a poison? There’s such a thing as food chemistry. Food compatibility doesn’t just mean that two foods taste good together. It can also mean that the two foods’ nutrients can interact to increase absorption or complement deficiencies. Even vegetables have compatibility. Eating certain combinations can create a synergistic benefit, while others can reduce nutrient absorption or even lead to health problems. Let’s delve into vegetable chemistry!

5 Worst Food Combinations

Cucumber X Carrot

Cucumbers and carrots are often used together for their crunchy texture. However, eating raw cucumbers and carrots together can destroy vitamin C due to ascorbase, an enzyme that breaks down Vitamin C. For this reason, it’s not recommended to eat cucumbers and carrots with broccoli and bell peppers, which are rich in vitamin C.

If you must eat cucumbers and carrots together, you can inhibit the action of ascorbate by pickling them in vinegar or heating them in oil above 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spinach X Swiss Chard

Spinach and Swiss chard, often used in soup, don’t make a good combination. Spinach is rich in vitamins A and C, minerals, and an organic compound called oxalic acid. When oxalic acid binds with minerals such as calcium, potassium, and sodium, it forms oxalates. If oxalates aren’t excreted adequately in urine or feces, they penetrate tissues and organs through the bloodstream, causing damage. Since spinach and Swiss chard contain many oxalic acids, eating them together can lead to excess oxalates.

Tomato X Spinach

Spinach is rich in iron and reduces lycopene absorption, an antioxidant in tomatoes. In a study by Ohio State University, seven males consumed test meals composed of tomato extract, both with and without iron. The study found a meal with iron halves the absorption of lycopene. 

Green Onion X Seaweed

Green onions, a staple in many dishes, and seaweed rich in calcium are bad combinations. The phosphorus and sulfur compounds in green onions hinder calcium absorption in seaweed. Instead of green onions, adding the flavor to seaweed soup with ingredients like beef, chicken, sesame powder, dried shiitake mushrooms, and shellfish (mussels, clams, abalone, etc.) is recommended.

Cucumber X Radish

Radishes are rich in vitamin C and contain the famous digestive enzyme amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates. In addition, their abundant plant fibers help clean out waste from the intestines and are effective in anti-inflammatory actions. Juice made from ground radishes helps prevent stomatitis, toothache, and gum bleeding. However, the enzyme ‘ascorbinase’ produced when cucumbers are cut destroys the vitamin C in radishes, making them a bad pair.

5 Good Food Combinations

Tomato X Avocado

Now, let’s talk about good food combinations. First, tomatoes and avocados. The lycopene in tomatoes is a fat-soluble component, so cooking it with oil increases the absorption of nutrients. Therefore, eating tomatoes with avocados, which contain linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid, can increase absorption. Eating them with nuts or olive oil is also recommended.

Mushroom X Garlic

Mushrooms and garlic are essential when grilling meat. Mushrooms are rich in vitamin B1, known as thiamine, which helps burn carbohydrates to produce energy. When vitamin B1 combines with the allicin in garlic, it turns into allithiamine, which is well absorbed in the body, enhancing the effect of vitamin B1.

Spinach X Potato

Spinach contains more iron than meat. Eating it with foods rich in vitamin C, including green peppers, green vegetables, or potatoes, can enhance iron absorption. There are 23mg of vitamin C in 100g of potatoes, more than six times that of apples. One of the characteristics of vitamin C in potatoes is that not much is lost, even when boiled or steamed.

Eggplant X Onion

Eggplants are considered cold food, so if people suffering from a below-normal body temperature consume them excessively, they might get diarrhea. In such cases, you can cook them with spicy vegetables that produce heat, such as onions, peppers, ginger, and garlic, to offset the eggplant’s cold nature. Additionally, eggplant goes well with vegetable oil. Cooking eggplants with sesame or olive oil can increase the benefits of anthocyanins and prevent blood cholesterol levels from rising, especially when eaten with fatty foods.

Tomato X Asparagus

Tomatoes not only alleviate inflammation in the stomach but are also excellent for fatigue recovery. They are also good for healthy skin. When eaten together, the organic acid in tomatoes and asparagine in asparagus can help prevent or alleviate hangovers.

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