A nutritionist explains combining foods for digestion

It’s no surprise that foods can make or break your health goals. Food is medicine. In many ways, improved digestion and sustained energy can be a staple in the fridge. But most people overlook a simple but powerful phenomenon: Food order. Food order — or food sequence — can be a game-changer.

Taking a sustainable approach, there’s no need to eliminate key food groups (like carbohydrates) to be good. Instead, if you’re looking to boost your health, especially blood sugar, consider the order in which you eat your food. It can be as important as what’s on your plate. Similar to food combinations, the order of eating is not new. In fact, these principles first appeared in early Ayurvedic medicine. Does it deserve the hype? Let’s dig inside.

What is a combination food?

Complexity aside, here’s the gist of food pairing: Food matching is a style of eating that endorses certain food combinations. This concept is based on the claims that food digests at different rates, has different transit times in our digestive tract and requires specific pH environments. For example, proteins need an acidic environment to be broken down, while carbohydrates need an alkaline environment.

Despite its popularity, there is no evidence to back up the previous claims. However, that does not mean that some aspects of food pairing are undisputed. The way you combine foods may be appropriate. For example, there are evidence-based food combinations that can improve or significantly reduce the digestion and absorption of certain foods. For example, supplement vitamin C-rich foods with iron-rich foods to increase iron absorption.

Hay Diet

Wondering how food pairing became popular? As mentioned, the principles of food pairing are not new. They were popularized in the mid-1800s, with the term “tropics” or “science of food association”. Ultimately, these principles were revived by Dr. Hay – the father of the Hay diet. Popular in the 1930s, the Hay diet was based on the idea that you should avoid certain combinations of foods. The reason is that certain combinations interfere with digestion and can increase acidity levels in the body.

For the Hay diet, all foods fall into one of three categories: alkaline, acidic, and neutral. Alkaline foods are rich in carbohydrates, such as rice, cereals, and potatoes. Acidic foods are foods rich in protein (milk, meat, etc.). Neutral foods include fats, like nuts and green vegetables. It also highlights that fruit is best on an empty stomach at breakfast.

Is there scientific evidence to support food combinations?

Over time, Dr. Hay’s diet has inspired health enthusiasts. While there’s no scientific evidence to back up the health benefits of combining foods, the anecdotal evidence speaks for itself. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, you may notice improvements in your digestive function, energy, and cognition. Given that we’re all biological individuals, we all digest and absorb nutrients differently, don’t dismiss it until you’ve tried it: Food combinations can be well worth a try. .

Common food combo Rule

Proponents of food pairings argue that consuming protein with carbs (fruits and grilled meats) can cause bloating, gas, and poor digestion, and therefore, poor absorption of nutrients. Based on these theories, the Food Combination Diet recommends consuming certain foods on their own or in specific combinations to improve digestibility.

To do:

1. Eat fruit on an empty stomach.

2. Non-starchy vegetables (greens) can be combined with protein, fat or carbs.

3. Wait 3-4 hours between meals before switching categories.

Are not:

1. Consume starch and protein in the same meal/together.

2. Consume fat and protein in the same meal/together.

3. Combine starches with acidic foods.

4. Combine different proteins.

5. Eat fruits and vegetables at the same time.

6. Drink liquids with meals.

In What Order Should I Eat My Food?

As you can see, food matching has many different rules (wider than the list above!). On the other hand, the order of eating is much simpler. It has nothing to do with food combinations and more about the order in which you eat. Ideally, you should start your meal with vegetables and protein, and end with carbohydrates. Studies show this can keep you full longer (compared to eating the same foods in reverse order) and it can aid in blood sugar regulation.

To be more specific, consider eating a savory meal rather than a sweet one for breakfast. For example, pasture-raised eggs and organic vegetables cooked in buffalo buttermilk. For lunch and dinner, try to start with vegetables (green leafy vegetables, broccoli, etc.) and fats (avocados, nuts, olive oil, etc.). You will automatically increase the amount of vegetables you eat, thereby increasing the micronutrients for the body. For your preference, eat protein before carbs. Save the best for last: Desserts. When eating carbs as a snack, such as a banana, pair it with a source of protein (string cheese), fat (almond butter) or fiber (chia seeds) to control post-meal sugar levels. eat.

Benefits of Food Ordering

In essence, this is because protein slows down the release of sugar from carbohydrates into the bloodstream. This prevents a spike in sugar followed by a crash (dysregulation of blood sugar). In fact, doctors say this way of eating makes the most sense for diabetics. Eating protein and vegetables before carbohydrate intake leads to lower postprandial glucose and insulin levels in obese patients with type 2 diabetes. This finding may influence how clinicians advise patients with diabetes. sugar (and other high-risk people) eat. Instead of focusing on how much to eat, the focus is on when to consume carbohydrates.

Other studies show the same. When protein is consumed before starchy carbohydrates, it is easier to control glucose levels. In turn, it can help maintain weight. Timing of carb intake can positively impact blood glucose levels, supporting your overall health goals.

Incompatible Food Combinations, According to Ayurveda

Through Ayurveda, an ancient holistic healing science, you can take a rational approach to food incorporation. Ayurveda believes that understanding yourself, as an individual, is the key to finding a truly balanced diet. That said, here are some (generic) incompatible food combinations. However, keep in mind that you can combine these foods without digestive problems!

  • Do not eat beans with fruit, milk, eggs, fish or meat.
  • Do not eat eggs with fruit.
  • Do not eat fruit with any other food.
  • Do not eat cereal with fruit or tapioca.
  • Do not drink hot drinks with mango, starch, fish, meat or milk.
  • Do not eat night food (potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) with melons, cucumbers or buttermilk.
  • Do not eat radishes with bananas, raisins or milk.

Last but not least, according to ancient Ayurvedic texts, honey should never be cooked. Instead, use a sweetener like maple syrup when baking.

Symptoms of poor digestion

The gut microbiome is extremely complex. Symptoms of poor digestion may include:

  1. Stomachache. Thoughts: Flatulence, bloating, indigestion, constipation, etc.
  2. Intense cravings for sugar. A diet high in processed foods and added sugar can reduce the number of good bacteria in your gut.
  3. Inflammatory condition. While poor digestion can lead to inflammation, inflammation also leads to poor digestion. It’s a vicious circle.
  4. Eczema. Skin conditions, like eczema, can be related to a damaged gut.
  5. Constant fatigue. An unhealthy gut can contribute to sleep disorders, like insomnia or poor sleep. Much of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well.
  6. Unintentional weight fluctuations. Weight gain or loss without changing your diet or exercise routine can be a sign of an unhealthy gut. An imbalanced gut can impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Helpful tips to avoid indigestion and flatulence, according to Ayurveda

When it comes to aiding digestion and avoiding bloating, consider these Ayurvedic tips:

  • Eat 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger with a pinch of salt before each meal
  • Alkaline foods (fruits, vegetables, etc.) help with digestion and regulate the stomach
  • Ghee stimulates our digestion and metabolism, thus improving digestion
  • Chewing well is essential as it ensures the food is well mixed with the saliva
  • Drinking small sips of warm water during meals will aid in the digestion and absorption of food
  • Take a short walk after a meal

4 Combination recipes

When it comes to recipes for food combinations, keep it simple. By simplifying your meals, your digestive system doesn’t have to deal with too much in one sitting, helping you avoid that bloated, sluggish feeling that can affect the rest of your day.

These chipotle burrito bowls are an easy one-pot meal in the Instant Pot. Black beans and brown rice cook at the same time (no need to soak). Rich in fiber, protein and healthy fats, combine whole grains and beans for a satisfying lunch or dinner.

This delicious creamy broccoli soup can be made in no time with a blender. Fresh ingredients and creamy cashews make this soup tastier than any broccoli soup. You won’t believe it’s dairy-free.

Perfect for a snack, this raw vegan sushi is super easy to make. These avocado cucumber rolls are bursting with flavor and are low-carb, gluten-free, seed-free, and eco-friendly.

This one-pan breakfast is full of fiber-rich veggies and satiating protein. Perfect for preparing meals for the week, this dish is vegetarian and gluten-free.

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