Food Combining for Better Health


Many people suffer from indigestion. They have tried a variety of different diets and food detoxes to get themselves feeling better and nothing seems to work. These individuals might consider not what they are eating that is wreaking havoc on their gut, but in fact how they are eating it. Food combining or food un-combining as it is better described, is the idea that different foods have different digestion times. So for example when a protein is paired with a starch, this can cause complete chaos in your bowels, thus they should be eaten at separate times to encourage better digestion.

What does this mean? Well, for you die hard hamburger lovers; it means that you may need to find a new vice. In fact, if you take a second to examine North American food habits, you will find that they are in exact opposition to the body’s digestive method. The meat and potatoes, cereal and milk, or turkey sandwiches, all mean extra work for your body and are no-no’s in food combining rule.

The reason why your body doesn’t do well at digesting all of these different foods at once is actually quite logical. Different foods require different digestive enzymes to help in the digestion process and thus different processing times as well. Some of these enzymes are acid, some alkaline. When put together these two types of enzymes neutralize each other. This means that each one is functioning at a significantly slower level and digestion becomes slow and inefficient. This is what happens in a miscombined meal. The presence of both types of enzymes means the stimulation of opposing digestive juices that are neutralized, creating a backlog of undigested food in the stomach. This process is further intensified as we age and our body’s production of digestive enzymes diminishes. Thus the reason that hamburgers are a big no-no is because proteins require acidic enzymes for digestion, while carbohydrates (starches, fruit, and sugars) are more conducive to an alkaline enzyme. It is this combination of foods that so often leads to indigestion, bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and poor absorption of nutrients.

For example, fruits digest very quickly, so they need to be eaten on their own. In fact, any quick digesting foods should be eaten alone, because they must wait until the slowest digesting foods leave the stomach before they can leave – a process which can take up to 6 or 8 hours. In the waiting process the fruit or other fast digesting foods begin to decompose, but really just cause added gas, acid and indigestion, while they wait to be able to continue their digestive journey. Thus the best time to eat fruit is on an empty stomach, such as first thing in the morning. Fruit digests in a mere half an hour, when not slowed down by other products, so you can have fruit and shortly thereafter enjoy your meal.

Not only can the food combining cause serious discomfort in the digestion process, it can actually hinder the absorption of vitamins and nutrients. A perfect example of this is explained on drkaslow.com, which explains that, “If we eat cheese, rich in calcium, and at the time it reaches our small intestine, an alkaline digestive process is going on there, then very little (if any) of that calcium will be available to us. The calcium will make a chemical combination with the alkali and become non-absorbable; it will pass through and out of our body unused!”

While North American food combining principles go against digestive rules, there are certain cultures whose food pairing fits with the body’s needs. In fact many Oriental dishes consisting of rice and vegetables, abide by this principal. Vegetables combine with either protein or carbohydrates. They just all can’t go together.

Some simple food combining guidelines for better digestion

  • Eat fruit alone- about half an hour before consuming any other food
  • Always eat melon on its own
  • Don’t eat proteins with starches
  • Avoid dessert after a big meal
  • Avoid acids with protein i.e.: orange juice with your eggs

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