If you’re a regular Healthier Talk reader, you likely know a lot about the cutting-edge science behind the nutrient lycopene.
This powerful natural compound, found in tomatoes and watermelon, acts as a sort of natural shield against cancer.
And researchers say it appears to be especially useful for battling cancers of the prostate, colon, and lungs.
Maybe you’re already taking it as a supplement to slash your own risks. Or perhaps you’re just cooking with tomatoes more – especially tomato paste.
Crushed tomatoes, like those in tomato paste, are a top choice. Because they not only contain high levels of lycopene but provide it in a form that your body can put to use quickly and easily.
Mineral slashes lycopene absorption by 50%
But new research reveals there’s a common nutrient that could cause you to miss out on the lycopene… even if you THINK you’re getting enough of it.
This mineral essentially blocks the nutrient.
In other words, you could actually LOSE your cancer shield without ever knowing it.
The study found that iron-rich foods and iron supplements can slash the absorption of lycopene in HALF.
For example, let’s say you decide to use tomato paste as a lycopene-rich base for your stew. But then you dump iron-rich beans, lentils, or potatoes into the pot, too.
In the end, the combination of nutrients in your stew means you might only be getting 50 percent of the lycopene benefits at best.
But that’s not the only combo you need to watch out for, either. There are dozens of others, including what I like to call the…
Four BIGGEST no-no nutrient combos
Now, don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t know about these bad mixes. Most folks… even many doctors… don’t.
In fact, I’ll bet that you’ve taken one or more of these nutrient pairs over the years…
1. COFFEE: We all love coffee, right? I can’t live without it myself. But don’t knock back your multi WITH your cuppa jo. Caffeine can actually make certain nutrients harder to absorb, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and B vitamins.
2. CARROTS: Bugs Bunny’s favorite healthy snack is both great on its own and in salads. Just don’t add avocado to the same dish. It turns out the beta carotene in carrots can block some of the vitamin E in avocados. This goes for other beta carotene and E combos such as mixing sweet potatoes or winter squash with say nuts, seeds, or spinach.
3. CALCIUM: Calcium and magnesium are two nutrients that are often sold together in a single handy capsule. Since both are important, it SEEMS like a good idea. Well, that is until you learn they’re kind of like two kids competing for mom’s attention.
The combo tends to battle against each other for absorption. So, while you do need both, you’re usually better off taking the two supplements at different times of the day. And this is especially true if you’re deficient in one nutrient and taking higher doses as a result, which can magnify the effect.
4. OMELETS: Don’t worry, I’m not really saying you need to avoid omelets. Eggs are one of the best breakfast foods around. You just need to watch what you put IN them if you want to get the most health benefits.
A spinach stuffed omelet may be a classic combo. But the vitamin A in the eggs can cancel out the vitamin K in spinach.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should NEVER mix those foods, of course. Throwing some spinach in your omelet won’t make you turn into a pumpkin at midnight or anything. And it IS a healthy choice with other benefits.
Just don’t count on those combos to cover your nutritional needs. And plan accordingly to ensure you get all the nutrients you need each day.