Have you ever thought that the way you combine your food may help or worsen your digestion?

Have you noticed that some meals creates you bloating, gass, delay in you digestion?

Are you constantly constipated?

Even if you are not having obvious signs of digestive impairment you should begin considering the way you combine your foods!

Especially those who face digestive problems should take seriously the idea of how to combine their foods in each meal.

But lets start explaining the idea behind food combining…

The food combining system, as a whole, is simple and easy to understand. It logically evolved from the study of gastric physiology and the actions of enzymes and digestive juices. It is not what we eat, but what we digest and assimilate, that determines the nourishment our bodies receive. Food combining is based on the discovery that certain combinations of food may be digested with greater ease and efficiency than others.

Correct food combinations result in an immediate improvement in health by lightening the load of the digestive organs. Better nutrition is assured, and there is better digestion, less fermentation and putrefaction, more comfort, less distress and less gas. So-called food allergies often disappear as a result of proper food combining.

Foods and our body

Food is any substance which is eventually convertible into such end-products as tissues, body fluids, etc., and can be utilized by the organism in the performance of its functions. Foods help you when you are oxidized, contribute decisively to growth, maintenance and repair. They are capable of being stored within the body and produce no nutritionally significant toxic effects.

Nutrients in foods are chemical substances of known composition and structure, classified as carbohydrates (such as sugar, starch and glycogen); lipids (fats); proteins (amino acids linked together); salts (minerals); and vitamins, needed in small quantities (or, traces) by the body. In addition, foods contain indigestible materials—cellulose (fiber).

Water, oxygen and vitamins, together with proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals, form the constituents of the body—the blood, tissue, bones, organs, muscles and so forth. Foods must be taken into the digestive tract and prepared for use by the organism before their constituents may be used by the body.

BASIC PHILOSOPHY IN FOOD COMBINATION

Food combination theory is based on the functioning of enzymes. Digestive enzymes are enzymes that break down foods into their smaller building blocks, in order to facilitate their absorption by the body.

Each digestive enzyme is specific in its action. It acts only upon one class of food substance. Each stage in the digestion of food requires the action of a different enzyme, and the various enzymes can perform their work efficiently only if the preceding work has been properly performed.

Body chemistry is, to a large extent, determined by the the food we eat. When certain foods are eaten regularly, the digestive enzymes and secretions are of a character to handle those foods. When the diet is altered, more and more of the digestive juices secreted will be of a character to digest the foods in the new diet, and less and less of the digestive juices will be of the character to digest the foods in the old diet.

The type of digestive juice fitted for the digestion of one type of food is of no value in digesting another type of food. Therefore, it is essential that food be taken in combinations that do not interfere with enzymatic action.

When two foods are eaten that have different or even opposite, digestive needs, the precise adjustment of digestive juices to meet requirements becomes impossible.

Digestive speed and efficiency vary with individuals and circumstances. However, certain general statements can be made:

  • Simple carbs, or sugars, only require one step for digestion, which is why they digest faster. An enzyme in the lining of the small intestine transforms sucrose into glucose and fructose to then be absorbed in that one step. (eg Juices and Water: 20-30 minutes, Soups, Fruits, Vegetables or Smoothies: 30-45 minute)
  • Complex carbs, or starches, require more steps to digest, and therefore digest more slowly than simple carbs. Complex carbs include starchy vegetables, legumes, whole-grain breads and cereals. The enzymes in saliva break complex carb molecules into maltose, which is a smaller and simpler molecule. Next, an enzyme in the small intestine’s lining splits maltose molecules into glucose molecules, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. The blood transports glucose to the liver, where is is either used for energy or stored for later use. (eg Grains, Starches: 2-3 hours)
  • Protein requires more digestion time in the stomach than carbs. Giant protein molecules are in foods like beans, eggs and meat. Because the molecules are so large, it takes a longer process to break them down before they can be used as fuel. An enzyme in the stomach begins to digest protein. Protein molecules then move into the small intestine, where several more enzymes break down the molecules into amino acids. The smaller amino acid molecules pass through the walls of the small intestine to get into the bloodstream. When you run out of the energy you got from glucose, which started as carbs, your body turns to protein or fats for energy. This process is known as gluconeogenesis. To make more glucose from protein, the body converts amino acids into glucose to use for fuel. (eg Beans, Poultry, Meat, or Fish: more than three hours)
  • Fats take more time to digest than carbs or proteins. Fats pass through the stomach and into the small intestine as other nutrients do. The body breaks fat molecules into fatty acids and glycerowhich the villi in the small intestine can absorb. The fatty acids and glycerol travel to areas of the body for storage in cells or for use as energy. Your body can only use about five percent of absorbed fat for fuel by converting it to glucose. Your liver absorbs the rest of the glycerol and uses it to assist in breaking down glucose for energy.
  • Some foods may take five or six hours or more to leave the stomach. Some examples are combination starch/protein foods like legumes (including beans), grains, cooked cabbage and flesh foods.

Most digestion occurs in the stomach and small intestine. Digestion, especially starch digestion, actually begins in the mouth, with mastication and insalivation of the food. This sends the proper signals for the release of the digestive juices suited to the character of the food eaten. Digestive juices are present in the saliva and in the gastric secretions of about five million microscopic glands in the walls of the stomach.

Food Sequencing Is also very important: Organize your meals

A well ordered meal allows your digestive system to handle digestion more smoothly, with less time and more absorption of nutrients. A well ordered meal is one in which you introduce different foods systematically.

You should start by introducing the easiest or quickest to digest foods first and work your way up to the more complex. By doing this you keep foods that digest more easily flowing through your digestive system and prevent a “food traffic jam”.

Denser and less liquid foods are harder to digest and take longer to pass completely through the digestive system.

Think of your digestive system as a highway; if the slower vehicles are allowed to go first, the result will be a traffic jam. If the slower vehicles follow the faster vehicles you’re highway will run smoothly and efficiently.

It is important to note that when choosing a beverage, milk products are hard to digest and should be taken alone. The easiest type of beverage to digest is water or one high in water content.

Sources:

  • http://www.puristat.com
  • http://www.livestrong.com
  • http://www.rawfoodexplained.com