Scientifically referred to as trophology, food combining is an approach advocated by nutritionists. It is believed that incorporating compatible food combinations in one's diet can be highly beneficial for achieving optimal health. Consuming food items that are incompatible to each other could lead to digestive distress and stomach disorders. It could also lead to weight gain.
Dietitians and nutritionists have formulated certain food combining rules for preventing such digestive ailments and strengthening the digestive system. These rules are formulated, depending on the action of digestive enzymes on food and not on the calorie count. Digestive chemistry holds much importance in the art of food combining.
Healthy Food Combinations
This nutritional approach involves the separation of specific food items from other food types, for their optimal absorption of nutrients by the digestive system. These rules provide insights regarding the items from different food groups that are supposed to be consumed together, and the ones that should not be consumed together. One such rule is that the consumption of foods that can be easily digested with the ones that are hard to digest, should be avoided. Here are some of the rules:
- Acids and starches should be consumed at separate meals. If they are combined together, it would lead to fermentation and indigestion, as acids neutralize the alkaline medium, required for digestion of starch molecules.
- Proteins and acids should be consumed separately. The acids inhibit the secretion of digestive juices, that are also acidic in nature, thereby hampering digestion of proteins. Undigested proteins often release poisons and odor, due to bacterial decomposition and food poisoning.
- Protein-rich foods must not be combined with carbohydrates, as proteins would require acidic medium for the breakdown, while carbohydrates need alkaline medium for digestion.
- It is necessary to avoid two food types of concentrated protein in the same meal. This is because, each type of protein would require a particular strength of digestive juices.
- The combination of fats and protein should also be avoided. Fat slows down the activity of gastric juices and lowers the secretion of appetite juices, thereby hampering the digestion of proteins.
- Acidic fruits must not be consumed with proteins. Acid and proteins lead to putrefaction (process of decay) and indigestion.
- Starch and sugars should not be consumed together. Sugars hinder secretion of the enzyme ptyalin, which is essential for starch digestion.
- One concentrated food of a particular type should be consumed at one time. For example, you can consume one concentrated starch meal at one time.
- Carbohydrates and acids should not be combined together. The enzyme ptyalin, which is required for digestion of carbohydrates acts in alkaline medium, and destroys any amount of acid present.
- Avoid the combination of desserts with your meal. These can be consumed alone.
Application of the Rules
- Avoid the consumption of rice, potatoes, and bread with citrus fruits like orange, tomatoes, lemons, grapes, etc.
- Nuts, cakes, and candies should not be combined with eggs, cheese, and meat or with potatoes, bread, and cereals.
- Avoid eating eggs and meat, milk and nuts, and milk and eggs together. Milk is best consumed alone.
- Butter, creams, and oil should not be consumed with eggs, cheese, and meat.
- Citrus fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, pineapples, lemons, etc., should not be combined with meat, nuts, eggs, cheese, etc.
- Combining sugar with cereals is also wrong.
- Watermelon should not be consumed with any other type of foods. Muskmelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon should also be consumed alone.
The combinations that one can follow during different meal times, for a balanced digestive health are: For breakfast, one can have a combination of acidic fruits such as oranges, pineapples, grapes, ripened bananas, etc. After 2 - 3 hours, one can take a sweet breakfast that would include dates, raisins, figs, and prunes, which are quite good for the winter season.
For lunch, a combination of lettuce and celery, and salads would be good. Avocado and alfalfa sprouts can also be consumed. A cooked green vegetable with starch is also a good combination. For dinner, one can have cooked non-starch vegetables and proteins. One can also take chicken soup alone. Raw vegetable salad is also ideal for dinner.
The aforementioned rules and combinations, if followed on a daily basis, might prove beneficial, and result in better digestive health. However, one must also make other lifestyle-related changes that include following an exercise regimen, refraining from smoking, and excessive consumption of alcohol, for the overall well-being of an individual.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.