What To Know About Digestion And Food Combination?

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Find out here how digestion works and how food combination affects the digestion process.

Importance of Digestion

Most digested molecules of food are absorbed through the small intestine.

They may either have been mechanically digested (food is chewed, mashed and broken down into smaller pieces) or chemically digested (enzymes change food into simpler substances).

So what makes digestion so important?

Digestion is the breaking of food into smaller pieces so that it could be absorbed and utilized by our body.

The smaller pieces that were broken down are then absorbed into the small intestine where they will be transported to the different body parts.

The body in return utilizes for the nourishment of the cells and be an energy source.

Like tiny building blocks, they work together to form every part of you. Cells make up the skin, bones, muscles, and organs.

Our body uses nutrients to fix damaged cells and make new ones. Nutrients give cells what they need to work, grow, and divide.

Consider the foods we eat at the raw materials or ingredients of a dish.

In order for us to be able to make a certain dish, the ingredients must be chopped and processed so that they will fully utilize and cook. The same way goes with digestion.

Improper digestion results from the different digestive problems. This could also come from the mal-absorption of the different nutrients.

colon detox_2

Let us not forget that our digestive system support our body. As small as we think that system is, we cannot overlook the fact its importance.

It is composed of a series of organs that break down and absorb the food we eat so that the nutrients can be transported into the bloodstream and delivered to cells throughout the body. Most of us ignore our digestive system unless there’s a problem.

We never or if not, rarely consider the role it plays in our overall health. To think, move, work, and learn, we need our digestive system to process your food and help utilize the nutrients.

Our skin, hair, and even sleep can be affected by whether or not everything is working correctly.

One expert says that people with poor digestive health might struggle with their weight, experience irregularity, nausea, bloating, constipation, stomach pain, diarrhea, heartburn, or gas on a routine basis.

Poor digestive health also can prevent people from sleeping, working, exercising, or socializing with friends.

So bear in mind that our digestive system affects our whole body when it is not well taken care of.

abdomen-digestion process

How The Digestive System Works

The foods we eat are not in a form that the body can use as nourishment.

Food and drink must be changed into smaller molecules of nutrients before they can be absorbed into the blood and carried to cells throughout the body.

Digestion is the process by which food and drink are broken down into their smallest parts so the body can use them to build and nourish cells and to provide energy.

Digestion involves mixing food with digestive juices, moving it through the digestive tract, and breaking down large molecules of food into smaller molecules.

The process begins in the mouth, when we chew and swallow, and is completed in the small intestine.

probiotic

So how does digestion work?

Well, the large, hollow organs of the digestive tract contain a layer of muscle that enables their walls to move.

The movement of organ walls can propel food and liquid through the system and also can mix the contents within each organ.

Food moves from one organ to the next through muscle action called peristalsis. Peristalsis looks like an ocean wave traveling through the muscle.

The muscle of the organ contracts to create a narrowing and then propels the narrowed portion slowly down the length of the organ.

These waves of narrowing push the food and fluid in front of them through each hollow organ.

The first major muscle movement occurs when food or liquid is swallowed. Although we are able to start swallowing by choice, once the swallow begins, it becomes involuntary and proceeds under the control of the nerves.

Swallowed food is pushed into the esophagus, which connects the throat above with the stomach below.

At the junction of the esophagus and stomach, there is a ring-like muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, closing the passage between the two organs.

As food approaches the closed sphincter, the sphincter relaxes and allows the food to pass through to the stomach.

The stomach has three mechanical tasks.

First, it stores the swallowed food and liquid. To do this, the muscle of the upper part of the stomach relaxes to accept large volumes of swallowed material.

The second job is to mix up the food, liquid, and digestive juice produced by the stomach. The lower part of the stomach mixes these materials by its muscle action.

The third task of the stomach is to empty its contents slowly into the small intestine.

Several factors affect emptying of the stomach, including the kind of food and the degree of muscle action of the emptying stomach and the small intestine.

Carbohydrates, for example, spend the least amount of time in the stomach, while protein stays in the stomach longer, and fats the longest.

As the food dissolves into the juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine, the contents of the intestine are mixed and pushed forward to allow further digestion.

Finally, the digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported throughout the body.

The waste products of this process include undigested parts of the food, known as fiber, and older cells that have been shed from the mucous.

These materials are pushed into the colon, where they remain until the feces are expelled by a bowel movement.

chicken-food combination

Food Combination – Digestion Pairing

Writer Carly Schuna shares her thoughts about the topic. In her article, she discusses the relation of food combining and digestion.

We must remember however that what might work for one person, may not hold true to another.

“Food combining involves eating foods in certain combinations or sequences with the goal of aiding digestion and minimizing stomach discomfort.

People who advocate food combining follow guidelines that dictate how to combine foods at meals and in what sequence to eat each food.

They feel that improperly combined meals can result in digestive discomfort, a build-up of food in the stomach and even more serious health problems.

Digestion

A basic principle of food combining is to only combine foods that have similar digestion times.

According to the nutritionist and food-combining advocate Dr. Stanley Bass, water, juice, fruits and vegetables have generally short digestion times of under 45 minutes, and whole grains, dairy products, proteins, nuts, seeds and complex carbohydrates take more than one hour and sometimes as long as several hours to digest.

Proponents of food combining believe that the stomach overworks when it digests a variety of foods at a single meal, and it’s healthiest for the stomach to handle similar types of food at once.

When the stomach has completed the majority of digestion for one group of items and is mostly empty, it’s permissible to eat again.

Good Combinations

Combine foods that have similar digestion times or that are in the same food group (with the exception of proteins, which should be limited to one type at each meal).

Alder Brooke Healing Arts recommend combining vegetables with buttery or fatty foods, carbohydrates or proteins.

Other good combinations include starches with carbohydrates or proteins and fatty foods with carbohydrates.

green coffee_3

Bad Combinations

Avoid combining starches and carbohydrates with proteins. Acidic foods and basic (alkaline) foods should be eaten separately as well.

Fruits and most juices are composed largely of simple carbohydrates and take only a short time to digest; therefore, it’s best to avoid consuming them with any other foods.

Finally, desserts don’t combine well with any meal. They are heavy in sugar, and food-combining advocates believe that they ferment in the stomach rather than digest easily.

Chewing

People who follow the principles of food combining believe that it’s important to completely chew all foods at all meals.

Healing Daily also stresses the importance of chewing all foods thoroughly before swallowing them, almost to the point of liquidizing them.

The organization notes that partially chewed food is almost always only partially digested and can pass through the body without fully dispersing its vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.”

Food Combination vs. Weight Gain

The most common concern of almost every person is their weight as they age. They have tried almost all the diet plans around and yet most are still disappointed with the results.

Some people offer weight loss programs at gyms and at yoga classes. However, not everyone has the luxury or time to do both.

So what makes food combining so promising when it comes to weight loss?

Several studies have shown that increased intake of fruit, vegetables, dietary fiber, vitamins C and B6, beta-carotene and folate can help in reducing weight in a population of overweight adults and as supported by a study published in Nutrition Research.

The rules are pretty simple and if followed will ensure the success of the much-wanted shedding of unwanted weight.

Remember, fruits maybe nourishing and jam-packed with the vital vitamins and minerals but it is digested so quickly, so it doesn’t mix well with starches and proteins.

It’s been said that yogurt is also very quick and easy to digest. Yogurt and all kinds of fruit go well together.

Acidic fruits such as apples and oranges can be a particular problem if they are eaten too close to a starchy meal. Banana is the only really flexible fruit.

It’s quite starchy so banana is good with porridge and cereals but it is also easy to digest so goes well with yogurt.

Eat fruit as a snack between meals or as a starter to the main course. In other words, on an empty stomach. Or leave a gap between courses.

Some have tried doing the practice of food combining to lose weight by following some simple rules.
  • Eat starches and proteins apart
  • Eat fruit separately
  • Try and leave 15 to 30 minutes between main course and dessert
  • Don’t worry about food combining seven day every week, five is fine

There are still some who try to lose weight by losing their body fat. It is a fact that our body is seventy percent water. Little is known by many that having enough water in our body could help us lose weight.

Water effectively flushes out the toxins that are in our body and thus a reduction in body fat.

When one is bloated with excess water, it is said that drinking more water helps ease the bloat by helping to run the body more efficiently and thereby eventually lose that weight.

 


POINTS TO REMEMBER

Importance of Digestion

  • Digestion is the breaking of food into smaller pieces so that it could be absorbed and utilized by the body.
  • Your digestive system affects your whole body when it is not well taken care of.

How Digestive System Works

  • Swallowed food is pushed into the esophagus,
  • As food approaches the closed sphincter, the sphincter relaxes and allows the food to pass through to the stomach.

3 Mechanical Tasks of the Stomach

  • First, it stores the swallowed food and liquid
  • The second job is to mix up the food, liquid, and digestive juice produced by the stomach.
  • The third task of the stomach is to empty its contents slowly into the small intestine.
  • Finally, the digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported throughout the body.

Food Combination – Digestion Pairing
Digestion
A basic principle of food combining is to only combine foods that have similar digestion times.

Good Combinations
Combine foods that have similar digestion times or that are in the same food group (with the exception of proteins

Bad Combinations
Avoid combining starches and carbohydrates with proteins. Acidic foods and basic (alkaline) foods should be eaten separately as well.

Chewing
It’s important to completely chew all foods at all meals.

Food Combination Vs. Weight Gain

  • Several studies have shown that increased intake of fruit, vegetables, dietary fiber, vitamins C and B6, beta-carotene and folate can help in reducing weight in a population of overweight adults and as supported by a study published in Nutrition Research.
Simple Rules to Follow:
  • Eat starches and proteins apart
  • Eat fruit separately
  • Try and leave 15 to 30 minutes between main course and dessert
  • Don’t worry about food combining seven day every week, five is fine

TAKEAWAY QUESTIONS

– Are you aware of the importance of digestion?

– Do you have any idea how the food digested inside your stomach?

– Are you familiar with the good food combinations?

– Does proper food combination helps in losing weight?


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How Food Combination Should Be Done?

food combination

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Food combining or scientifically called, Tropology, is the science of correct food combining, the art of knowing which foods go best with which others.

‘Food combining’ may also mean to the combination of foods which are compatible with each other in terms of digestive chemistry.

Food combining is a basic component of optimal nutrition because it allows the body to digest and utilize the nutrients in our foods to their full extent.

Most would agree that “Food combining is based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion times. Digestion is helped the most by using foods which have roughly the same digestion time.”

Thus, correct food combinations are important for proper digestion, utilization, and assimilation of the nutrients in our diet. The principles of food combining are dictated by digestive chemistry.

Different foods require different digestive enzymes to aid in the digestive process – some acid, some alkaline.

vegetables-food combination

Below is a list of foods and their digestion time.
  • Water  when stomach is empty, leaves immediately and goes into intestines,
  • Juices
  • Fruit vegetables, vegetable broth – 15 to 20 minutes
  • Semi-Liquid 
    • (blended salad, vegetables or fruits) – 20 to 30 minutes
  • Fruits
    • Watermelon – 20 minutes digestion time
      Other melons – Cantaloupes, Cranshaw, Honeydew etc. – digest in 30 minutes
      Oranges, grapefruit, grapes – digest in 30 minutes
      Apples, pears, peaches, cherries etc. – digest in 40 minute
    • Vegetables
      • Raw tossed salad vegetables – tomato, lettuces, cucumber, celery, red or green pepper, and other succulent vegetables – 30 to 40 minutes digestion
  • Steamed or Cooked Vegetables
    • Leafy vegetables – escarole, spinach, kale, collards etc. – 40 minutes – Zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, yellow squash, and corn on a cob – all have 45 minutes digestion time
      Root vegetables – carrots, beets, parsnips, and turnips etc. – 50 minutes digestion time
  • Semi-Concentrated Carbohydrates – Starches
    • Jerusalem artichokes & leafy, acorn & butternut squashes, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam, chestnuts – all have 60 minutes digestion
  • Concentrated Carbohydrates – Grains
    • Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, cornmeal, oats (first 3 vegetables are the best) – 90 minutes digestion time
  • Legumes & Beans – (Concentrated Carbohydrate & Protein)
    • Lentils, limas, chick peas, peas, pigeon peas, kidney beans, etc. – 90 minutes digestion time
      Soybeans -120 minutes digestion time
  • Seeds & Nuts
    • Seeds – Sunflower, pumpkin, pepita, sesame – Digestive time approx. 2 hours.
      Nuts – Almonds, filberts, peanuts (raw), cashews, brazil, walnuts, pecans etc. – 2 1/2 to 3 hours to digest
  • Dairy
    • Skim milk, cottage or low-fat pot cheese or ricotta – approximately, 90 minutes digestion time
      whole milk cottage cheese – 120 minutes digestion
      whole milk hard cheese – 4 to 5 hours digestion time
  • Animal Proteins
    • Egg yolk – 30 minutes digestion time
      Whole egg – 45 minutes digestion time
      Fish – cod, scrod, flounder, sole seafood – 30 minutes digestion time
      Fish – salmon, salmon trout, herring, (more fatty fish) – 45 minutes to 60 digestion time
      Chicken – 1½ to 2 hours digestion time (without skin)
      Turkey – 2 to 2 ¼ hours digestion time (without skin)
      Beef, lamb – 3 to 4 hours digestion time
      Pork – 4½ to 5 hours digestion time

probiotic

Dr. Hay and Food Combining

“Any carbohydrate foods require alkaline conditions for their complete digestion, so must not be combined with acids of any kind, as sour fruits, because the acid will neutralize. Neither should these be combined with a protein of concentrated sort as these protein foods will excite too much hydrochloric acid during their stomach digestion.” – Dr. Hay, How to Always Be Well

According to a common story, when William Howard Hay (1866–1940) graduated from New York University Medical College in 1891, he practiced medicine and specialized in surgery.

That changed 16 years later when his own medical troubles led him to research the connection between diet and health.

Hay then weighed 225 pounds (102 kilograms) and had high blood pressure and Bright’s disease, a kidney condition. Hay discovered that his heart was dilated while running to catch a train.

The dilated heart caused by weakened heart muscles meant that his blood could not pump efficiently.

Hay knew from treating patients that his future did not “look overlong or very bright,” according to his 1929 book Health via Food. The title described Hay’s health theories, his condition, and treatment.

Hay diagnosed the causes of his conditions as the “very familiar trinity of troubles” that then ranked as the primary cause of death: the combination of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and dilated heart.

But he could not accept the fact that his legs, which have swollen that time might be chopped off. So he looked for other reasons and so Hay looked at his eating habits.

Thus, he went into research and it was said that Hay’s research led to a diet based on the theory that health was affected by the chemical process of digestion.

The body uses an alkaline digestive process for carbohydrates, the group that Hay classified as consisting of starchy foods and sweet things. The digestion of proteins involved acid.

If carbohydrates and proteins were consumed at the same time, the alkaline process was interrupted by the acid process.

Combining incompatible foods caused acidosis, the accumulation of excess acid in body fluids. Hay linked the combination of foods to medical conditions like Bright’s disease and diabetes. The wrong combinations “drained vitality” and caused people to gain weight.

Hay maintained that the solution was to eat proteins at one meal and carbohydrates at another. He classified fruits with acids.

Hay labeled vegetables in the neutral category that could be consumed with either group. He also advocated the daily administration of an enema to cleanse the colon.

This was the starting point for the interest in the field by other doctors who would later have a classification of the food system.

Food Sources

Protein

The principal sources of protein are:

1. Meats of all kinds (the lean part), such as beef, veal, mutton, lean pork, chicken, turkey, duck, goose, game, both feathered and furred, in fact, all lean flesh from animals and birds.

2. Fish of all kinds, such as trout, salmon, herring, pickerel, pike, cod, halibut, mackerel, sturgeon, and shad. Also shellfish, like oysters (which are mostly water), clams, crabs and lobsters.

3. Legumes, the chief of which are all kinds of dried beans, dried peas, lentils, and peanuts. Also green peas, and both the green and the dried lima beans should be consumed.

4. Dairy products, including sweet milk, light milk, buttermilk, cottage cheese and all other kinds of cheese. Cream contains but little protein, and butter practically none.

5. Nuts, especially almonds, Brazil nuts, filberts, hickory nuts, pecans, English walnuts, butternuts, pistachios, and pignolias.

(Peanuts are legumes, not true nuts. Chestnuts contain much starch and only a little protein.)

Starchy or Carbohydrates

The chief sources of our starchy foods are:

1. Cereals, the most important being wheat of all kinds, Indian corn, rice, rye, barley, and oats. No matter in what form we eat them—in bread, toast, cakes, mushes, flaked or puffed cereals—they are starchy.

2. Tubers, the most important being Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Jerusalem artichoke. The dasheen is also a tuber, which resembles the white potato in consistency, and has an agreeable flavor.

3. Legumes, especially when they are ripe. The ripe limas, navy beans and other kinds of ripe beans, peas, lentils and peanuts are starchy. Green limas and young peas contain more starch than the other vegetables; usually classified as succulent.

4. Nuts, but only a few varieties. Acorns, dried chestnuts, and coconuts are rich in starch.

colon detox_2

Fats and Oils

The chief sources of our fats are:

1. Dairy products—cream, butter, and some rich cheeses.

2. Meat, especially pork, mutton, and beef, which have been fattened.

3. Fat fish, such as herring, shad, and salmon trout.

4. Legumes. Some kinds of peanuts are very oily, and so are soybeans.

5. Nuts of nearly every kind. Almonds, Brazil nuts, filberts, hickory nuts, pecans, English walnuts, butternuts, cocoanuts, pistachios, and acorns are rich in oil.

6. Cottonseed, olives, and corn furnish much edible oil.

 

Fruits

Some of the most common juicy fruits are:

Apples, lemons, oranges, peaches, pears, strawberries, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, cranberries, currants, gooseberries, grapes, huckleberries, blueberries, mulberries, nectarines, olives, pineapples, plums, raspberries and whortleberries.

The melons (watermelon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, casaba, honeydew, etc.), rhubarb stalk and tomatoes are so like fruit that for practical purposes we may call them so.

The most important sweet fruits are:

Ripe bananas, sweet prunes, sweet grapes, raisins, dried currants, figs, dates and persimmons.

 

Succulent and Salad Vegetables

The main succulent vegetables are:

Asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, turnips, parsnips, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, okra (gumbo), onions, radish, summer squash, tomatoes, spinach, kohlrabi, kale, Brussels sprouts, cone artichoke, chard, string beans, celery, turnip tops, lotus, endive, dandelion, oyster plant, rutabaga and garlic.

Though corn is really a cereal, corn in the milk, either on the cob or canned and green peas may also be classed with the succulent vegetables and also the pumpkin.

The main salad vegetables are:

Lettuce, celery, endive, romaine, chicory, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, celery cabbage, parsley, field lettuce, and cress are suggested.

All leaves that are relished may be used for salad purposes.

granola-food combination

The Nine Rules

Food combining cannot be done without any rules. And it is dilated by the digestive system and the digestive process.

This is as dictated as the different food types require different digestion length and process.

It is then important that when doing food combining, do not just combine just because you think it is right. You must know the basics and what food goes well with another.

Dr. Herbert Shelton in his book “Combining Food Made Easy”, gave some easy and simple combinations so as not to confuse a beginner or someone interested in the diet.

 

The 9 Basic Rules of Proper Food Combining:

1. Eat acids and starchy foods at separate meals. Acids neutralize the alkaline medium    required for starch digestion and the result is fermentation and indigestion. 

2. Eat food containing protein and carbohydrate at separate meals. Protein foods require an acid medium for digestion.

3. Eat only one kind of protein food at a meal.

4. Proteins and acid foods must be eaten at separate meals. The acids of acid foods inhibit the secretion of the digestive acids required for protein digestion. Undigested protein putrefies in bacterial decomposition and produces some potent poisons.

5. Fatty foods and proteins should be eaten at separate meals. Some foods, especially nuts, are over 50% fat and require hours for digestion.

6. Fruits contain natural sugar and proteins should be eaten at separate meals.

7. Eat sugars (fruits) and starchy foods at separate meals. Fruits undergo no digestion in the stomach and are held up if eaten with foods that require digestion in the stomach. 

8. Eat melons alone. They do not combine with any other type of foods.

9. Desserts should be eaten separately without combining with any other type of foods. Eaten on top of meals they lie heavy on the stomach, requiring no digestion there, and ferment. Bacteria turn them into alcohols and vinegar, and acetic acids.

 turmeric_3

Food Combination Table

When having meals, it is better to take note that the smaller the number of courses, the better it will be.

Food combining is not about the bulk or the quantity of food you eat but the quality and the combination observed in the meal.

What is important is that the meals should be favorable to the wellbeing and health of someone rather than the complexity of its preparation.

Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates remain in our stomach for as long as seven hours until all the stomach contents empty.

Depending on how they are paired with, carbohydrates pretty much have a short stay in the stomach when eaten alone without protein.

Even shorter are the fruit meals while proteins have the longest stay in the stomach. So it is ideal that the three be eaten at different meals.

Like for breakfast, you could opt for just a fruit meal or a protein meal with say like salad and vegetables when it comes to dinner.

The choices are many as long as you know how to combine them. The rules are there to guide you.

Even more, the food combinations will be greatly aided by this chart.

 

Food Combining Chart

Food Groups Proteins Fats Starches Vegetables Sweet Fruits Sub-acid Fruits Acid Fruits
Proteins Good Poor Poor Good Poor Fair Good
Fats Poor Good Fair Good Fair Fair Fair
Starches Poor   Good Good Fair Fair Poor
Vegetables Good Good Good Good Poor Poor Poor
Sweet Fruits Poor   Fair Poor Good Good Poor
Sub-acid Fruits Fair   Fair Poor Good Good Good
Acid Fruits Good   Poor Poor Poor Good Good

 

Here, those with asterisks (*) are not good for good nutrition.

  • Proteins: Nuts, seeds, soya beans, cheese, eggs, poultry* meat*, fish*, yogurt.
  • Fats: Oils, olive, butter, margarine.
  • Starches: Whole cereals, peas, beans, lentils.
  • Vegetables: Leafy green vegetables, sprouted seeds, cabbage cauliflower, broccoli, green peas, celery, tomatoes, onions.
  • Sweet Fruits: Bananas, figs, custard apples, all dried fruits, dates.
  • Sub-acid-fruits: Grapes, pears, apples, peaches, apricots, plums, fruits guavas, raspberries.
  • Acid fruits: Grapefruit, lemons, oranges, limes, pineapple, strawberries.

 


POINTS TO REMEMBER
  • Food combining or scientifically called Tropology, is the science of correct food-combining, the art of knowing which foods go best with which others.
  • Food combining is based on the theory that different food groups require different digestion time.
  • Different foods require different digestive enzymes to aid in the digestive process – some acid, some alkaline.

Dr. Hay and Food Combining

  • If carbohydrates and proteins were consumed at the same time, the alkaline process was interrupted by the acid process.
  • Combining incompatible foods caused acidosis, the accumulation of excess acid in body fluids.
  • The wrong combinations “drained vitality” and caused people to gain weight.
  • Hay maintained that the solution was to eat proteins at one meal and carbohydrates at another.

TAKEAWAY QUESTIONS

– Are you aware of the basics of food combination?

– Do you practice the basic concepts of food combination?

– Have you tried separating food groups in your meal?


HERE ARE THE DOWNLOAD LINKS:

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