Embarrassing gas? Uncomfortable bloating?
Did you know that the combination of foods you eat might actually waste nutrients and negatively affect your digestion?
There are food combinations that can actually alleviate gastric problems, and promote good health.
When healthy digestion occurs, nutrients are absorbed, cells repair, and energy and metabolism increase.
How we compromise our digestive process
Different foods require certain pH conditions, and particular enzymes in order to be properly digested.
High protein foods, especially meat, require an acidic environment in the stomach along with the appropriate enzymes to properly break down the protein for absorption. Acid by-products are then produced, requiring neutralization by essential minerals.
Starches on the other hand require a slightly alkaline balance for the best energy production.
When your body attempts to create the proper conditions for digesting these two food groups simultaneously, neither food is optimally processed.
Protein is the only food that must be completely broken down in the stomach to benefit from its nutrition, the rest is excreted through the intestines, and can become problematic if not digested well enough.
Meats normally take about 3 hours to digest before it reaches the small intestine.
But when combined with starches, the process of digesting the meat then increases to up to 9 hours.
No wonder you are uncomfortable!
And worse, the proteins that have begun to break down and decompose with starches that have started to ferment cause chemical reactions which are more harmful than good for your system.
How? The microorganisms that result then begin to feed on the nutrients that were meant for you.
This is why you may feel tired upon waking in the morning, after your body has worked all night trying to digest your food and you did not benefit from the nutrients it contained.
Overindulgence is something we all do from time to time, and healthy bodies have normally no issue recovering, eventually.
But just so you are aware, the result is digestive fermentation, causing gastric upset, pain and gas, as well as contamination of the blood with acid by-products.
The 4 Rules of Food Combining
The point of combining foods is to ensure complete assimilation of our nutrition through the actions of essential minerals and enzymes. In fact, the simpler the meal, the easier to digest.
Either way, here are four simple rules of combining foods that will help you to assimilate your nutrition.
- Eat the highest protein foods at the beginning of the meal, as they require the most stomach acids to break down. If proteins are eaten after starches, stomach acids are not available in enough quantity to sufficiently break them down.
- Proteins, fats and starches combine best with green and non-starchy veggies. Meat should definitely be combined with greens! Most fats and oils greatly reduce the digestion of protein. Green non-starchy vegetables actually aid in digestion of the protein, although it is still best if the protein is eaten first.
- Salty food should be eaten before sweet food, since salt can stimulate more stomach acids for digestion.
- Fruit and sweets should be eaten separately, or in very small portions at the end of the meal.
Top 5 mistakes in food combinations
Any excess of fatty or oily foods is extremely hard on the liver.
Sweet and acid fruits do not combine well with one another.
Milk should not be combined with meat and should best be taken alone. It will tend to curdle around other foods and inhibit digestion of those foods (fermented dairy products and cheese do not cause this problem).
High sugar fruits should not be combined with foods that digest more slowly (the slower digested foods will sit in your stomach up to 9 hours if combined with meat and starches).
Drinking fruit juice between meals compromises digestion unless two hours past a starch meal and four hours past a protein meal. And do not drink icy liquids while eating. The temperature change also disrupts the digestive enzyme production.
Take a note of how you feel after your meals, and what you have eaten, and I think you’ll agree that there’s something to be said for eating in certain combinations. Wouldn’t you rather that than reach for antacid pills?