Super meal recipes to help improve your health

Soaked oats topped with almonds and berries - super meal recipes

Soaked oats topped with almonds and berries

Helps with: Heart disease

Food synergy: Almonds (flavonoids) with foods rich in vitamin C (berries)

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 120g porridge oats (gluten free)
  • 150ml apple juice
  • 1 handful flaked coconut
  • 20g blueberries
  • 20g whole blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp of plain yoghurt or dairy-free alternative
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 lime

Method

Place the oats in a bowl with the apple juice, flaked coconut, blueberries, whole almonds, yoghurt, cinnamon and lime zest. Mix together, place in the fridge and leave for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Almond skin contains flavonoids that act as powerful antioxidants in the body. In combination with vitamin C found in foods such as berries, this combination has been shown to help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol is now considered a key factor in the development of heart disease.

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/135/6/1366/4663832?login=false).

Everyday food combinations

  • Smoothie made with almonds and berries
  • Snack of almonds and berries
  • Fruit crumble topped with crushed almonds and oats

Tomato, red pepper, avocado and feta cheese salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing

Helps with: Immunity, healthy skin, eye health

Food synergy: Foods high in vitamin A (tomatoes, red peppers) + olive oil 

This dish utilises the food synergy between vitamin A (found in tomatoes and red peppers) and olive oil which assists with the absorption of this nutrient. Vitamin A is required for healthy skin and eye health and is also referred to as an anti-inflammation vitamin due to its critical role in enhancing immune function. The NDNS survey has shown that 10% of adults in the UK does not get enough vitamin A in their diet – this food combo can help increase the absorption of vitamin A from the foods they do eat.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162863/

Everyday food combinations:

  • Mixed salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes) with olive oil-based dressing.
  • Stir-fry (includes veggies rich in vitamin A such as red peppers and carrot) cooked using olive oil.
  • Roasted vegetables (includes veggies such as red peppers, sweet potato, butternut squash) drizzled with olive oil.
Breakfast smoothie - super meal recipes
Breakfast smoothie made with probiotic yoghurt and banana.

Breakfast smoothie made with probiotic yoghurt and banana

Helps with: Healthy microbiota, bone health

Food synergy: Probiotic yoghurt + banana (prebiotics)

Breakfast smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 200g fat-free probiotic Greek yoghurt
  • 350ml skimmed milk
  • Handful oats
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

Method

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth.

Probiotic yoghurt delivers beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus to the gut. Maintaining a balance of food to bad bacteria is essential for a healthy microbiota. This is important as the gut is where food is broken down and nutrients are absorbed and delivered around the body. Gut health is also closely linked to immunity. The addition of bananas adds prebiotics (inulin) to the mix. These indigestible fibres are fermented by bacteria in the gut – essentially they are helping to feed the bacteria in your gut helping it to flourish.

https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/8/1/155S/4566576

Everyday food combinations

  • Smoothie made with banana, milk and probiotic yoghurt
Apple spinach walnut salad orange c
Apple, walnut and spinach salad.

Apple, walnut and spinach salad

Helps with: Cognitive function and mood

Food synergy: Apples (flavonoids) + green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, rocket) – dietary nitrate

Apple, walnut and spinach salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 apples, cored and diced
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 250g baby spinach leaves
  • 4 chives, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 100g goats cheese, crumbled
  • 50g walnuts, chopped

Method

  1. Toss the apple in 2 tbsp of lemon juice then place ono a large bowl with the spinach leaves.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking together the remaining lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.
  3. Divide the salad between four bowls then top with the cheese and walnuts.

Apples and green leafy vegetables – Apples are rich in flavonoids, and green leafy vegetables are rich in dietary nitrate. Studies reveal that combination of flavonoids and nitrate could increase nitrous oxide production. The increase in nitrous oxide following consumption of flavonoids and dietary nitrate could improve cognitive function and mood. Beetroot is also high in dietary nitrates.

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/FO/C3FO60590F

Everyday food combinations

  • Green juice made with apples and green veggies such as spinach and kale
Paprika chicken - improve your health
Paprika and turmeric chicken (spice rub includes black pepper)

Paprika and turmeric chicken (spice rub includes black pepper)

Helps with: Joint health

Food synergy: Black pepper (piperine) + turmeric (curcumin)

Paprika and turmeric chicken thighs

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs (skin on)
  • 1 bulb of garlic, cloves removed and bashed (leave the skin on)
  • 1 tbsp hot paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp of Lebanese 7 spice  or Baharat
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt

Method

  1. Place the spices, olive oil and salt in a large bowl and whisk with a fork.
  2. Prick the skin of the chicken thighs with a sharp knife then place in a bowl then rub all over the chicken making sure to get under the skin. Add the garlic cloves to the bowl and combine with your hands.
  3. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before cooking.
  5. Heat the oven to 200C.
  6. Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet then put them in the oven and cook for about 45 minutes.
  7. Once cooked remove from the oven and serve with salad and coleslaw.

The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin and it has been widely researched for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is difficult to absorb in the body but in combination with black pepper its absorption is magnified. The active ingredient in pepper is called piperine which is responsible for this absorptive effect. Research has shown that curcumin is effective at reducing the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis and it has been suggested that the effect is comparable with NSAIDS.

https://www.thieme-connect.de/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2006-957450

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33500785/

Everyday food combinations

  • Chicken curry made with curry powder blend
Black bean chilli (includes red peppers) - improve your health
Black bean chilli (includes red peppers).

Black bean chilli (includes red peppers)

Helps with: Iron deficiency anaemia

Food synergy: black beans (iron) + red peppers (vitamin C)

Black bean chilli

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp mild chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp bottled lime juice
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 x 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 400g can sweetcorn, rinsed and drained
  • Salt

Method

  1. Set a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.  Now add the onions and garlic and fry for about five minutes to soften.  Add the spices and cook for two minutes until they become fragrant.
  2. Add the lime juice, cocoa powder and tomatoes then cook for 10 minutes.  Now add the beans and sweetcorn to the pan and cook for another 10 minutes.
  3. Serve the chilli in bowls and top with crumbled cheese.  It works great with sliced avocado if this available.

Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency across the globe. It affects more women than men as a result of menstruation but dietary intakes have been shown to be low amongst women.

The NDNS survey has shown that 25% of adult women do not get enough iron in their diet. Even those shown to be getting enough iron from their diet may still be low in iron if their diet is mostly plant-based. Non-haem iron from plant foods is less easily absorbed in the body.

It is widely understood that non-haem iron is more readily absorbed in the presence of vitamin C. Plant source of iron include beans, pulses, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and dried fruit. Red peppers are the richest dietary source of vitamin C but others include berries, broccoli, citrus fruits and potatoes.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25048971/

Almond, ginger and turmeric salad dressing (includes honey and garlic)

Helps with: Upper respiratory tract infections

Food synergy: Garlic (phenols) + honey

Almond, ginger and turmeric salad dressing

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 60g almond butter
  • 100ml water
  • ½ lemon, zest
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper

Method

Place all the ingredients in a blender or small food processor and blitz until smooth. Check the seasoning before serving and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.

Garlic and honey are often cited as being singularly antibacterial.  However, research shown that in combination they have a greater ability to reduce the growth of pathogenic bacteria which is due to the synergistic action of phenols and fatty acids found in the foods.

It has also been suggested that in combination these two foods may be a useful alternative treatment for upper respiratory tract infections or can be used alongside pharmaceutically prescribed antibiotics.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3757282/

If you enjoyed super meal recipes to improve your health with food synergy, you’ll find more on food synergy and super foods on our Nutrition channel.

Tags: , Last modified: June 6, 2022

Written by 2:42 pm Nutrition, Food & Drink

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