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the 5 rules of food combining that may improve your digestion


What is food combining? It’s a health conscious system where you consume food items that demand different digestive environments separately. More and more people started to become aware of the topic in the last decade or so. Our stomach uses various enzymes to digest foods at different rates. If you are looking to improve digestion, eliminate bloat, reduce weight, improve digestion or feel great overall the following food combining tips are sure to help.

Fruits First

Somethings are better off when left alone. Well, fruits can be added to that list as they don’t digest properly if mixed with other foods. For people concerned about blood sugar levels, do not mix fruits with green veggies and foods rich in fat. This way, your blood sugar levels will be stable. Abundant in water, antioxidants, and essential nutrients, fruits are one of the food items that our body will digest the fastest but needs to be consumed first or alone.

Do Not Mix Starches And Proteins

Mashed potatoes along with meat/dairy might be a treat for the tongue, but not so for the stomach. It is one of the worst combinations but has huge scope for improvement. Our body requires an alkaline base to digest starches but need an acid-base for digesting proteins. Mixing proteins and carbohydrates can result in gut fermentation, increase in time for digestion, stinky bowel movements, and indigestion.

Melons Should Go Alone

If you are a regular visitor of barbecue fests, you will know that some of them serve watermelon after the main course. This might result in slight blood sugar drops, nausea, and gas. For proper digestion, melons should be eaten on an empty stomach or without mixing with other food items.

Green Veggies Abound

Leafy greens are one of an essential food items for humankind. They go well with proteins and starches as well. They should constantly be present on our plate as they are loaded with essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron and magnesium along with amino acids and fiber. Ex – A salad with green veggies like Kale, broccoli, spinach, etc. can be included with your meals. This will help in easing the digestion.

Time Lengths

Different foods take varying amounts of time to digest. So shift time lengths before you consume your next meal might help in digestions. The following amount of time will be ample.

  1. Fruits – 2 hours
  2. Starches – 3 hours
  3. Protein – 4 hours

General Tips

  • Try to curb your unnecessary fat intake to aid digestion. Fat is calorie dense and slows down digestion. Give at least 4-5 hours for your body to digest before your next meal.
  • Proteins present in hard cheese, fish, meat, and cheese need lots of stomach acid and may take up to three hours to digest. So, your next meal should have a bit of an interval.
  • Leafy greens can help in preventing constipation and can facilitate the growth of healthy bacteria.
  • Many have oatmeal with milk and orange juice in the morning. This is not advisable because citrus fruits and milk, when mixed, can cause trouble digesting. Acid fruits can also destroy the enzymes present for digesting the starch in the cereal.
  • Combinations of yogurt and fruit, Bananas and Milk, Beans and Cheese, Meat and Cheese omelet, etc. are also an uphill task for your stomach when it comes to digestion.

It is important to notice that each and everyone’s body is different, and the sensitivity levels towards bad food combinations will also be different. Many attribute problems in the stomach to certain food items. But, in most cases, it’s the combination that causes the problems. Certain exercises might help in aiding digestion and keeping you fit in the long run. Take a look at the fat to fit infographic to know more about these exercises.

Digestive discomfort is not a constant occurrence, and many of us might not be able to relate to it when it occurs. If you adhere to the food combination rules listed above, it gives ample rest to your digestive system and your digestion will become stronger and efficient.

Jane Barrett

Jane is a nutritional therapist helping adults and children with digestive issues take control of their health through nutrition. By getting to the root cause of your health issue, she can help you cut through the confusion of what to eat and create a plan that’s made just for you. She practises in Guildford, Surrey and on Skype.

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