PRINCIPLES OF PROPER FOOD COMBINATION
Food combination refers to the combination of foods which are compatible with each other in terms of digestive chemistry. It is a basic component of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize nutrients in our food to their full extent. Many have developed the habit of eating anything “eatable” without knowing the health implications of such practices. Improper food combination is one of the primary factors that causes gas production, flatulence, heartburn & stomach upset, poor sleep and of course poor digestion of the food that can contribute to malnutrition even when we think that we are eating a decent diet. Research conducted in the U.S revealed that over 2 million dollars are spent annually to suppress digestive symptoms which could simply be curbed by taking good diet combination. Not long ago, a medical doctor named Stephen Smith celebrated his one hundredth birthday & when he was asked what allowed him to live so long, he replied “Take care of your stomach for the first fifty years & it will take care of you in the next fifty years”. Some food actually should not be eaten with others because different types of food require different types of digestive juices and not all digestive juices are compatible.
Listed below is the basis for proper food combination;
- · Starchy and proteinous foods should be eaten separately: This is because carbohydrate require an alkaline digestive medium which is initially supplied in the mouth by the enzyme ptyalin whereas proteineous foods require an acidic medium for digestion (HCL & PEPSIN). It is the law of chemistry that two contrary medium (acid and alkali) cannot work at the same time because they neutralize each other on contact. Thus if one eats a protein with a starch e.g. (Rice with beans) digestion is impaired or completely arrested; the undigested food is acted upon by bacteria which ferments & decompose it producing digestive disorders & gases. Therefore, to ensure proper digestion of either food, wait two hours after eating a starchy food before eating protein & wait three hours after eating protein before eating a starchy food.
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- · Eat protein and acid foods at separate meals: The acidic content in acid foods (e.g. lemon, orange, pineapple, strawberry, grapefruits, guava) inhibit the secretion of the digestive acid (Hydrochloric acid & pepsin) required for protein digestion. Undigested proteins putrefy following bacterial decomposition and produce some potent poisons.
- · Fruits should be eaten alone: This is because fruits are not digested in the stomach but are digested in the small intestine. Thus fruits are held up or restricted in the stomach if eaten with foods that require digestion in the stomach.
- Melon should be eaten separately due to the fact that they combine almost with no food.
- · Proteins and fats should be eaten separately owing to the fact that some food especially nuts which are over 50% fats require hours for digestion.
Incompatible food combinations rob one of energy and anything that produces a loss of energy is potentially disease – producing.
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Let’s pause and ask ourselves a question: Have you ever woken up in the morning tired even after six to eight hours of sleep? This can be attributed to the fact that while we sleep, our body is working overtime to digest the incompatible combination of food we ate and this process can take up to 12—-14 hours or even more. On the other hand, when foods are properly combined, the body will be able to do its job effectively and digestion can last an average of 3—4 hours so one doesn’t need to waste its energy on digestion.
Appropriate food consumption provides us with more energy which is more or less the fuel for excellence in any project or task we embarked on. Therefore imbibe the habit today!