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Combining Foods is a Healthy Eating Habit
- Eat foods with the highest water content first, because these will break down easiest, and then work your way towards the densest food, with the lowest water content of the meal, such as dense proteins, bread or other dry foods
- In addition to eating foods in the right order for the maximum benefits to your body, it is also important to chew each and every bite carefully and thoroughly
Many people believe that if you eat food in a specific order, this can help increase your metabolism, help prevent or eliminate digestive problems, and prevent other medical disorders. This philosophy has also been termed food combining. This is the order in which food is eaten based on the makeup of the food. This theory is based on the idea that food is digested at different rates under differing conditions. This in turn creates the most efficient absorption and passage of foodstuffs through your stomach and the rest of the digestive system. By mixing several different foods, or eating different types of food continuously with no break in between, you may make it hard for your stomach and GI tract to properly digest this complex mixture. Food combining espouses keeping your meals simple to allow for maximum digestion and utilization.
The order the food is eaten is also important. Eat foods with the highest water content first, because these will break down easiest, and then work your way towards the densest food, with the lowest water content of the meal, such as dense proteins, bread or other dry foods. By eating the food with the highest water content first, this allows your stomach to quickly break down this food and gear up for the next food item, which will be slightly denser and take longer to digest. A simple example of this is the habit of eating a salad prior to the main course. Different enzymes are needed for each type of food, and layering the food levels like this will allow your digestive tract to supply the correct enzyme in a stronger concentration, so digestion is more efficient. Also, different enzymes work within a certain range of pH (level of acidity or alkalinity). For this reason specifically, it is always advisable to eat fruits alone. They digest and are absorbed in a more acidic environment in the gut while most other foods require a slightly higher degree of alkalinity. Fruits and other simple sugar foods digest very quickly as compared to more complex foods.
A benefit of food combining, in addition to the ones already mentioned, is that you will experience much less gas, stomach upset, heartburn, and bloating, because foods which can be digested quickly do not have to wait for foods that take longer to breakdown. Improper food combining can allow simple foods to be digested and passed into the small intestine while more complex foods move into the intestine at the same time. However, these foods have not been completely broken down and cannot be correctly digested into small enough particles for proper absorption. Another side effect from this process comes in the form of allergies, as the undigested food particles are recognized as foreign and the immune system goes into action. This often creates a histamine response so typical to allergy sufferers. One good rule of thumb is to eat vegetables with high water content along with heavy protein meals. The water, fiber, and nutrients of the veggies enhance digestion of the protein.
In addition to eating foods in the right order for the maximum benefits to your body, it is also important to chew each and every bite carefully and thoroughly. Chewing will help your body start breaking down the food before it even arrives in your stomach, and the more you chew the more broken down the food is when your digestive tract kicks in. Salivary amylase helps to begin breaking down carbohydrates in the mouth and chewing is the best way to mix food with saliva allowing for maximum amylase action. Most people are unaware of how often they swallow food almost whole. This puts a tremendous strain on the digestion. This is also indicative of rushing through the meal, which in itself puts stress on the entire digestive tract. Proper food combining and thorough chewing will go a long way in improving health and decreasing most types of digestive disturbances. It is a good idea to see your doctor if you have any medical conditions or have special nutritional requirements or needs, to determine the best food plan for you.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Healthy Eating Habits6 Oct 2008|