In a world where genetic modification wants to pack your lunch with countless supposed advantages, what do we really know about the meddling that goes on behind those hermetically sealed laboratory doors? Better to take the chemistry of healthy nutrition into your own hands. Find out which home-engineered food combinations can deliver double the benefits to enhance every meal. The kitchen is your lab. You are the scientist.
9am: Eggs + ginger = hunger-busting breakfast (+ lean muscle)
Take the classic breakfast protein of athletes as the control. Now, rather than administering pepper or Tabasco, add ginger and stand back. You have just created an instant-acting breakfast that will speed protein and energy to your muscles after the eight hours of food-deprivation referred to as ‘sleep’. Ultrasound tests of healthy men, published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, found that ginger stimulates muscle contractions in the stomach which helps your body digest the nutritious eggs faster. The food is moved through your intestines more efficiently, halving the time it takes for nutrients to become available to your muscles and allowing you to break your fast biologically faster.
11am: Cheese + sweet potato = 1,000% extra cancer-proofing (+ all day energy)
The sweet potato packs high concentrations of cancer-fighting beta-carotene and lutein, but splice with a matchbox-sized amount of cheese and you create a supercharged cancer-killing strain of mid-morning snack. Ohio State University researchers found that taking beta-carotene and lutein with a dose of fatty acids (aka cheddar) mean you absorb 1,000% more of the cancer-proofing carotenoids. That sweet spud also has a lower GI than the starchy, white variety, which means it provides you with a slower release of energy. So whether you’re working out at lunch or working through it, cancer will be the one that gets really worked over.
2pm: Tuna + lemon = muscle-building protein (+ 4% immune system boost)
The healthy genome of tuna is well documented – lean protein for muscle repair, omega-3 to enhance joint flexibility and less excess fat than a Paris catwalk. But the addition of lemon juice does more than just enhance your steak’s flavour, it also gift-wraps another of its nutritional offerings – iron. The ascorbic acid in the citrus fruit converts iron into a more absorbable form, providing a 4.1% higher uptake that increases your dose of the key mineral, according to University of Surrey research. The extra iron charges your blood with more oxygen to feed your muscles and mind, and more red blood cells to bolster your immune system. Pump iron after the gym and you won’t get sick from all that heavy physics.
4.30pm: Bread + peanut butter = complete protein (+50% muscle growth)
Scientists state that building muscle by eating more protein per sitting is flawed. You cannot enhance the bioavailability – the extent to which your body can access nutrients – of your favourite muscle-building block by adding another block on top. Instead concentrate on eating complementary proteins. The University of Cincinnati found twinning peanut butter with wholemeal bread combines a variety amino acids to create a ‘full spectrum’ protein more readily consumed by your muscles, and a 50% increase in protein synthesis. All without the extra calories of a full meal of meat.
7.30pm: Salad + green tea = +4% night-time fat-burning (+ vitamins + nutrients)
Experimenting with hot and cold will turn the heat up on your metabolism to keep you lean and give you more vitamins per bite. A low-carbohydrate salad limits the storage of redundant energy as fat while you sleep, and the University of Geneva found that the natural compounds in green teas resulted in a 4% higher calorie burn over 24 hours. The longevity of the Chinese and Japanese has been linked to their tradition of having hot drinks with cold foods, with the warmth aiding digestion and helping your body to absorb more nutrients from each and every gram of your dinner. So you can go to bed healthy and satisfied and wake up to the leaner, fitter, and more powerful product of your own superfood science – you.
Taken from menshealth.co.uk