Food Synergy: Nutrients That Work Better Together

Why Eating a Variety of Whole Foods is Your Best Nutritional Bet


Sometimes in life, we don’t see the forest for the trees. And the field of nutrition is no exception. We can get so focused on the health benefits of a certain vitamin or phytochemical that we miss an important point: Different components in a single food can work together to benefit our health, and so can components in different foods that are eaten together.

I remember sitting in nutition 101 class 20 years ago and learning that vitamin C (from citrus fruits and dark-green vegetables) enhances the body’s absorption of iron (found in lean meats, fish, beans, and some leafy green veggies) when these foods are eaten at the same time. This was an early example of what we call “food synergy.”

David Jacobs, PhD, a researcher from the University of Minnesota, loosely defines food synergy as the idea that food influences our health in complex and highly interactive ways. The Produce for Better Health Foundation explains it as nutrients working together to create greater health effects.

Either way, food synergy is a very good thing. It brings us back to the basics: For good health, it’s important to eat a variety of whole foods.

There is still much we don’t know about how the components in food work together. Case in point: In the past 10 years, scientists have identified hundreds of biologically active plant-food components called phytochemicals (also called phytonutrients). A decade ago, we didn’t even know about phytochemicals like lycopene (the one that has made tomatoes famous) or anthocyanins and pterostilbene (which have propelled blueberries into the news).

We do know that eating food as close to its natural form as possible is by far our best bet for improving health and preventing disease. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and legumes are great examples of foods that are rich in a combination of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, antioxidant, and more.

Here are just a handful of examples in which different nutrients and components in food work together:

  • Pairing broccoli with tomatoes could be a match not only made in Italy, but in health heaven. In a study to be published in the December 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, prostate tumors grew much less in rats that were fed tomatoes and broccoli than in rats who ate diets containing broccoli alone or tomatoes alone, or diets that contained cancer-fighting substances that had been isolated from tomatoes or broccoli. The take-home message: A lycopene supplement may not hurt, but the whole tomato will probably help more. And a tomato eaten with broccoli may help a lot more.
  • Antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E; is of lavones from soybeans; and other compounds are thought to be important in slowing the oxidation of cholesterol — which is as important to reducing your risk of congestive heart disease as lowering your blood cholesterol level. Antioxidant protection is a complex system that includes many nutrients and phytonutrients. You need all of them for maximum effect.
  • Research on the so-called DASH diet (for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) showed how different dietary patterns build on each other. A diet high in fruits and vegetables lowered blood pressure. But blood pressure went down even more when people also ate a reduced-fat diet and included daily servings of low-fat dairy products. Blood pressure was lowered the most when people did all this plus ate less sodium.
  • “Eating a little “good fat” along with your vegetables helps your body absorb their protective phytochemicals.”

    • Three B vitamins (folic acid, vitamin B-6, and B-12) TOGETHER reduce the level of an amino acid that, in high levels, is thought to damage artery linings, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
    • Test-tube studies have shown that vitamin C and the phytoestrogen found in various fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans (including soy) work together to inhibit the oxidation of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
    • A recent study found that the phytochemicals quercetin (found mainly in apples, onions and berries) and catechin (found mainly in apples, green tea, purple grapes, and grape juice) worked together to help stop platelet clumping. Platelets are a component in blood that play an important role in forming clots. Platelets’ clumping together is one of several steps in blood clotting that can lead to a heart attack.
    • The Mediterranean-style diet is a perfect example of food synergy because it includes several healthful food patterns. (It’s rich in plant foods, whole grains, legumes and fish; low in meat and dairy products; and contains more monounsaturated than saturated fats because of its emphasis on olives, olive oil, and walnuts.) A recent study concluded that the Mediterranean diet may reduce the prevalence of both metabolic syndrome(a condition that includes excess body fat, high blood fats, and high blood pressure) and the cardiovascular risk that goes along with it. Another study found that a Mediterranean diet was associated with a 23% lower risk of early death from all causes.
    • Several dietary factors — including saturated fat and, to a lesser extent, cholesterol — work to raise cholesterol in the human body. Several others, like plant sterols, soy protein, soluble fiber, and foods such as oats and nuts, help lower blood cholesterol levels Your cholesterol levels are determined less by the intake of one particular nutrient than by your overall diet.
    • Eating a little “good fat” along with your vegetables helps your body absorb their protective phytochemicals, like lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark-green vegetables. A recent study measured how well phytochemicals were absorbed after people ate a lettuce, carrot, and spinach salad with or without 2 1/2 tablespoons of avocado. The avocado-eating group absorbed 8.3 times more alpha-carotene and 13.6 times more beta-carotene (both of which help protect against cancel and heart disease), and 4.3 times more lutein (which helps with eye health) than those who did not eat avocados.
    • In lab studies, Cornell University researchers found that apple extract given together with apple skin worked better to prevent the oxidation of free-radicals (unstable molecules that damage cells and are believed to contribute to many diseases) than apple extract without the skin. They also found that catechins (a type of phytochemical found in apples), when combined with two other phytochemicals, had an effect that was five times greater than expected.
    • Studies have indicated that oats may help protect against heart disease. Besides being one of our best sources of soluble fiber, oats contain a laundry list of other healthful compounds, including beta-glucan; a beneficial amino acid ratio; magnesium; folic acid; tocotrienols; and a phytochemical so far identified only in oats — avenanthramides. The protective effect of oats is thought to come from the collective effects of all of these components.

    All these examples remind us of just how complex nutritional relationships are. In my opinion, Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she created plant foods: There is magic in the packaging.

Balancing your hormones naturally

By Ruth Clark

Simply put, hormones are chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues and organs. The release of hormones is one way that parts of the body communicate with one another.

Hormones affect many processes in the body, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function/reproduction and mood. If your hormones are off it can make you feel exhausted, moody, grouchy and completely out of sorts.

Five tips for better hormonal balancehealthy meat and greens

1. Control blood sugar. Keep your energy constant all day by making sure your blood sugar is well balanced. When blood sugar is low it can make you feel tired, light headed and “hangry.”
Eat regularly, including healthy balanced snacks to avoid becoming ravenous. Include foods that contain a good mix of complex unrefined carbs, good protein and some healthy fat like a fresh fruit with some nuts, or hummus and veggies. Controlling blood sugar is key to helping keep insulin levels low. Too much circulating insulin can result in calories converting to fat instead of energy.

2. Get enough sleep. From 7.5 to 9 hours is considered adequate. More and more data shows the effect of lack of sleep on obesity and diabetes. This is mostly due to the effect on several hormones. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is elevated after by inadequate sleep. Sleep is important for regulating the two hormones responsible for regulating hunger/appetite. Sleep affects how well your cells use insulin. Most people overeat after a poor night of rest because they feel they need the energy and are coping with a hormonal stew which sets them craving more food.

3. Watch the caffeine. Drinking too much caffeine is almost as bad as insufficient sleep. It elevates your cortisol levels, lowers your thyroid hormone levels and basically creates havoc throughout your body.

A good substitute is green tea, which has about 10 mg caffeine per cup versus 240 mg in a cup of coffee.

4. Eat healthy fats. Essential fats are foundational building blocks for hormone production. I’m often surprised in my practice to hear women say they are afraid to eat foods like olives, avocado and nuts because they are high in calories. This outdated weight control practice ignores modern science. Let it go. Avocado with a little balsamic vinegar or fresh tomatoes and basil is a delicious snack that will help your hormones.

Balance your ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats. The body creates hormones from both of these fatty acids. Those from Omega-6 fatty acids tend to increase inflammation while those from Omega-3 fatty acids decrease it. With the advent of processed and convenience foods the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats in our diet has gone from a healthy 1:1 to a very risky 20:1. Avoid oils high in Omega-6 fats: safflower, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut. Favor foods that are naturally high in Omega-3 fats such as fatty fish, walnuts, flax and chia seeds, and grass-fed animal products. Consider an Omega-3 supplement if you don’t eat fatty fish at least twice per week.

5. Take good care of your adrenal glands. Our world of nonstop stimulation and stress easily creates adrenal fatigue, leading to an outpouring of the hormone cortisol. The more demand on your adrenal glands, the harder it is for the adrenals to deliver. Because the fight or flight response is innate and tied to our very survival, the adrenal glands get priority for hormone production, leaving the sex and thyroid hormones in deficit.

High levels of cortisol are also major contributors to belly fat. Cortisol increases the release of blood sugar which makes sense if you need to run away from a saber tooth tiger but isn’t very helpful when you are stuck at a desk under deadline for a work project.

Take care of your hormones and they will take care of you!


Patient Fee Increase

Dear Valued Patients,

We are very grateful you choose us as a partner in creating your optimum health. Your continued patronage, loyalty and referrals to family and friends shows us how much you value our services.

To continue our commitment in providing the highest quality, we want to inform you of some necessary changes. For 5 years, our costs of supplies, equipment, supplements and such has been increasing, although our services fees have remained the same. We are no longer able to absorb those costs and continue providing the best service possible.


To that end, starting May 1, 2015 NEW FEES for the following services will go into effect:

  • Chiropractic Adjustments with Dr. Elliott Smith will be $75.00 (adjustments with Dr. Aaron BeBee will remain at $65.00).
  • Avatar Appointments with ANY practitioner will be billed $150.00 per hour (previously at $125.00). Less than an hour will be billed at 5 minute increments of $12.50.

We appreciate your understanding in this matter, as well as your loyalty and referrals!

Yours in Good Health,

Alternative Chiropractic Center

Welcoming Dr. Aaron Bebee

Dr. Aaron

Josh’s Special Valentine and Free Workshop

Valentine Special and Workshop

Limited Coupon Special

Josh’s Fall Special

Josh’s Fall Special

For Every 3 referrals, receive a complimentary 30 minute session of your choice and your referrals will receive 20% off their first massage or Edu-K session. Already a patient? Don’t worry, Josh is giving 10% off any services scheduled now through October 15th 2014!

(Existing appointments do not apply)

 What is Edu-K??

Edu-K (Brain Gym) is a movement-based learning or Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K) us a system that uses movement to draw out innate potential to achieve goals. When neuropathways for movement are fired, they activate and connect the whole brain in the synergistic way necessary for neuronal growth. Edu-K has been introduced in homes, businesses,  athletic settings and places of learning in more than eighty countries on all seven continents.

Call 303-504-3600 to schedule today!



“When Josh and Elliott can treat a patient together the chiropractic adjustment lasts longer thanks to Josh’s mixture of traditional and Thai massage techniques! I saw Josh before taking my required exam before graduate school and with 3 sessions we improved my score by 10 points, a gigantic improvement!”- Christine

Josh PicJosh Lazaroff

LMT, Licensed Brain Gym Instructor



Patient Appreciation Day is almost here!

Now that we have completed our expansion, we are hosting an open house for a fun and relaxed celebration of YOU, our patients.

Thank you for helping us grow, we appreciate you!  thank you multiple languages image

For those on our mailing list, keep an eye out for your post cards arriving by mail with a discount coupon on the back and details about Patient Appreciation Day.  Please join us July 12, 2014 from 11am-2pm to check out our new space, enjoy each others’ company and have the chance to win great prizes!


– 50% off Acupuncture coupons for New Patients with Eva Stanley
– 50% off coupon for Chiropractic Adjustment with Elliott Smith
–  Supplement giveaways!
– 2 Coupons for 40 minute Enneagram education or typing session with Annette Donaghy
– 2 Coupons for 40 minute Emotional Freedom Technique session with Annette Donaghy
– 2 Coupons for 40 minute “How to Work with Your Angels” sessions with Annette Donaghy
– Free 5-10 minute Thai massage demos from 11am-12pm with Josh Lazaroff


We look forward to seeing you there!

The ACC Team

A bigger and better ACC…

construction finished

Our office expansion is finished!

Come see our new and improved office!  We have gained an additional treatment room, an administrative area, a retail area AND more space in our waiting room.  This allows us to see more patients, bring in more services and provide you with the best possible care.  We are looking forward to seeing you soon in our new and beautiful office!  Thank you to those who worked so hard to help us complete the job.

PS – Keep an eye out for our upcoming email regarding our Patient Appreciation Day plans!


Use spices to reduce sodium intake!

How Cooking With More Spices And Herbs May Rein In Excessive US Sodium Intake

By John Ericson | Mar 19, 2014


New research suggests that people find it easier to lower their salt intake if they’re taught how to use other spices, providing a potential public health strategy for limiting health complications of excessive sodium.spices


Dr. Cheryl A. M. Anderson, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and lead author of the new study, said that the paper comes in response to rising levels of salt in U.S. foods. “Salt is abundant in the food supply and the average sodium level for Americans is very high — much higher than what is recommended for healthy living,” she explained. “We studied the use of a behavioral intervention where people learn how to use spices and herbs and less salt in their daily lives.”


The study, which was presented at an annual conference hosted by the American Heart Association, followed 55 volunteers involved in a two-phase experiment spanning 24 weeks. At the start of the study, more than 60 percent of them had high blood pressure, and about 18 percent reported diabetes or weight problems.


For the first four weeks, all participants followed a low-sodium diet put together by the researchers. For the remaining 20 weeks, participants were either asked to lower their sodium intake on their own or partake in a behavioral intervention program designed to educate them on low-sodium eating. The sessions focused on ways to substitute salt with herbs and spices when cooking.


Anderson and her colleagues found that, although sodium intake went up for both groups following the initial four-week intervention, those participating in the behavioral sessionsate significantly less salt over the 20-week period. On average, they consumed nearly 1,000 daily milligrams of sodium less than the control group.

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“People in the intervention group learned problem-solving strategies, use of herbs and spices in recipes, how culture influences spice choices, how to monitor diet, overcoming the barriers to making dietary changes, how to choose and order foods when eating out and how to make low-sodium intake permanent,” Anderson explained.

The results dovetail with a number of other studies highlighting the benefits of bringing a more diverse range of spices into your cooking. One example is a recent paper from the University of Kentucky, in which researchers show that curcumin — a compound occurring in curry — may slow the growth of breast tumors.

With some development, the education model outlined in the study could prove a valuable tool for health officials working to sodium-related health complications like hypertension, osteoporosis, and kidney disease. “Given the challenges of lowering salt in the American diet, we need a public health approach aimed at making it possible for consumers to adhere to an eating pattern with less salt. This intervention using education and tasty alternatives to sodium could be one solution.”