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How to Improve Your Digestion By Food Combining


If your digestion is sluggish and in need of a makeover, you may like to consider some very simple food combining principles that offer instant results.

What is Food Combining?

Food combining is nutritional approach that bases it principles on specific food combinations designed to promote digestive health. The technique combines specific foods whose ingredients complement one other in the process of digestion and nutrient absorption. Food combining may also dramatically reduce the amount of energy required for digestion, thus leaving an individual with more energy, improved digestion and an overall better state of health.

Foods Chemicals and Their Different Digestive Environments

Foods are broken down into chemicals that in their different combinations may allow for easy digestion or a digestive nightmare. Individual enzymes in the stomach then require either alkaline or acidic environments to function break them down. For example, the enzymes that work to break down carbohydrates require an alkaline environment to function, whilst those that break down meats require an acidic one.

When alkaline and acidic foods are combined, the relative secreted juices in the stomach neuralise one another leaving only a watery solution that offers very little assistance with digestion. This results in food lying stagnant in the gastrointestinal tract, causing a build-up of unhealthy bacteria, and symptoms such as bloating, gas and nutrient malabsorption.

The Digestive Speed of Different Foods

Some foods digest faster and more readily than others. Concentrated proteins may take more than a day to digest efficiently whilst a simple piece of fruit takes a couple of hours at the most. Combining foods that digest at unequal rates to each other can cause a digestive mess as the faster digesting food get stuck and may cause symptoms such as gas, bloating and discomfort.

Food Combining Principles

Food combining entails the combination of different food groups such as:

  • Proteins – red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, seeds and nuts.
  • Starches – breads, rice, pasta, potatoes, peas, legumes.
  • Sugars – fruits, syrups, refined sugar, jams, honey.
  • Melons – honeydew, rockmelon, watermelon.
  • Vegetables – leafy greens, root vegetables, cabbages.
  • Acids – citrus fruit juices, picked products, vinegars.
  • Fats – avocadoes, olives, oils, butter.

Foods that are beneficial to combine include:

  • Vegetables and proteins.
  • Vegetables and fats.
  • Starches and fats (in moderation).

Foods that incite poor digestion include:

  • Starches and proteins.
  • Starches and fruits.
  • Proteins and fruits.
  • Fats and proteins.

Other food combining tips

  1. Melons are digested quickly and therefore eaten best alone.
  2. Avoid following your main meal with a sugary, starchy dessert.
  3. Follow the example of your ancestors and eat your fill of one food at a time for easier digestion.
  4. Avoid drinking a lot of water (especially cold water) throughout your meals, as it may dilute and inhibit the enzyme activity required for digestion.
  5. You may also like to consider taking a high-quality enzyme supplement with meals to improve your digestion.

If you are interested in learning more on how food combining may improve your digestion, please speak to a professional nutritionist or naturopath for more information.


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