How I Stumbled Across the Idea of Combining Certain Foods for HealthRecently, while doing some research for one of our podcasts, I came across an article that mentioned the health benefits of combining turmeric and black pepper. I had recently begun incorporating turmeric in some of my cooking after learning about its health benefits but had no idea that combining it with black pepper could make it even more powerful. After reading the article, I wondered what other foods complement each other in the same way? This led me to learn more about the practice of food combining for health, something I've also heard called \"food synergy.\" You can listen to our discussion on food combining here or read on for a quick summary. Basic Principles of Food CombiningFood combining refers to the idea that certain foods, when properly combined, work better together than when eaten separately. Those who subscribe to the notion of food combining also believe that some food combinations can be bad for you. Bad food combinations are those that cause the digestive system to work poorly, often causing gas and bloating. The idea of food combining isn't new. Food combining diets first appeared in the Ayurvedic medicine practices of ancient India and began gaining popularity in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It's important to note that there is still quite a bit of controversy surrounding some food combining principles due to inconclusive or, in some cases, directly contradictory scientific research. That doesn't mean we have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, however! There is still some evidence that shows combining certain foods can be great for your body, so let's talk about some food combining tips. Food Combining Tips1. Combine Black Pepper and Turmeric Turmeric contains curcumin, a phytochemical that gives turmeric its bright yellow color. Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant, is \"supercharged\" by the bioactive compound piperine found in black peppercorns. In addition to improving the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%, piperine has also been shown to help relieve stomach issues such as poor digestion and nausea. And we thought pepper was just a food seasoning! 2. Combine Beans or Chickpeas with Rice In episode 280, we talked about the health benefits of chickpeas. If you listened to that episode, you may recall that one of the benefits of chickpeas (and legumes in general) is that they are great for the digestive process. They aid in digestion and keep you feeling fuller longer, which can lead to weight loss. While rice and other healthy whole grains are nutritious, when eaten alone they digest quickly in the body (particularly white rice). This, in turn, causes blood sugar to spike. The beneficial digestive properties of legumes help you to get the nutritional benefits of whole grains without the heavy glycemic load. 3. Add Black Pepper to Green Tea Green tea contains the antioxidant EGCG which is believed to help regulate your metabolism and fight cancer. In 2004, a study in the Journal of Nutrition found that the absorption of EGCG was increased when piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, was added. Instead of a lump of sugar in that tea, how about a sprinkle of pepper?