In the 1920s, Dr. William Howard Hay accidentally discovered that digestion improved when certain foods were combined. Science has advanced tremendously since, but people are always looking for easy and quick solutions to get the most nutritional benefit from the foods they eat.

I get asked all the time what foods are good to fight breast cancer, prostate cancer, high cholesterol, just to mention a few. So here are a few food combination tips that can help. Always remember to consult with your physician just in case one of these ingredients interferes with your medication.

Reduce inflammation: Bromelain, ginger and turmeric combined

I have been dealing with inflammation from fibromyalgia for many years. This combination of spices has helped me reduce inflammation in my body and reduce my pain.

Tumeric is a spice used in Indian cuisine. Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found in pineapples. Extracted from the juice and stem of the fruit, the enzymes that make up bromelain are most beneficial in digestive support.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, turmeric has successfully treated inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis. Bromelain is used to treat inflammation following surgery – particularly in ear, nose and throat surgeries. UMMC notes that bromelain is also effective in reducing inflammation associated with infection and injuries. Early studies have shown its usefulness in treating arthritis as well.

Fight prostate cancer: Broccoli with tomatoes

Researchers found that rats fed isolated lycopene – a natural substance from tomatoes believed to help fight prostate cancer – didn’t have significant protection from prostate cancer. However, rats fed freeze-dried-tomato powder – it’s easier to feed rats the powder, and it contains the full range of nutrients in tomatoes – had much greater prostate cancer survival. Meanwhile, broccoli contains substances called glucosinolates that break down into compounds that help enzymes flush carcinogens from the body. But just like with lycopene, research has shown that glucosinolates work better when eaten with the other natural substances.

An average person needs to eat approximately 1.4 cups of raw broccoli and 2.5 cups of fresh tomato to create the anti-cancer super food deal.

Lower cholesterol: Alfalfa sprouts with cherries

Researchers in the department of molecular pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Southern California’s School of Pharmacy observed a strong antioxidant synergy between alfalfa and acerola cherry extracts that may help reduce oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. It could be the flavonoids from the sprouts working together with vitamin C from the cherries.

Fight breast cancer: Flaxseed with soybeans

Generally, soy has been found to lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. However, there was research that found soy to have tumor-promoting effects in late-stage breast cancer. In recent lab studies, flaxseed has been shown to weaken this effect. Another lab study analyzed the breakdown products from the lignans in flaxseed in combination with the primary isoflavone in soy (called genistein). University of Toronto flaxseed researcher Lilian Thompson, Ph.D., concluded that for postmenopausal women with low estrogen levels, the combination of soy and flaxseed may be more beneficial than soy alone in controlling breast cancer growth.

Heart health: Garlic and onions

Organosulfur compounds are the primary active phytochemicals in garlic and onions. Several of them may protect the heart by helping to keep arteries flexible and clear of plaque damage.

Boost nutrient absorption: Good fat

Eating a little good fat along with your vegetables appears to help your body absorb protective phytochemicals such as lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark green vegetables. Lets start adding more avocados to our recipes!

Improve cholesterol levels: Fish and garlic

Garlic and fish omega-3s have been shown that together they can lower total cholesterol, triglycerides and the ratio of bad to good cholesterol as well as total to good cholesterol ratios. What a great combination!

Nutrition specialist Jacqueline Cordova co-owns and operates the Green Ingredient and an express restaurant at Push Fitness with her husband Ulises. To learn about their health and wellness workshops, visit