Why You Shouldn’t Combine Certain Foods in A Meal
There are some combinations of food that do not go well together. Today, we tend to ignore some of the time-tested traditions of what we eat and when and how. Due to this, we overlook some of the digestive problems created by the wrong combinations of food.
Why is there a “right” and a “wrong” combination to eating food? Isn’t it all just food? Though that is true, different foods have different break-down times in terms of digestion. For example, fruit digests quicker than, say, shellfish. Moreover, different foods have different properties in terms of acidity and alkalinity. Since our body has to maintain certain levels of pH and the stomach also has to cater to various foods being brought in, it would make sense to eat foods that are more likely to be grouped together. In this piece we will look at a few bad combinations of foods.
-> Liquid with meals is a bad combination. For example, having juice with your meal, sipping hot tea or coffee right after your meal or drinking water during your meal. This is because any liquid sent to the stomach dilutes the enzymes in your body that are needed to digest proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Since these form the basic component of your meal, it would lead to problems with digestion. As an alternative, drink as much water as you want about 10 minutes before you eat. After you finish your meal, wait for an hour to have any liquid, or wait more if it was a complex meal.
-> Fats with the wrong kind of main dish can also be a bad idea. For example, having meat fried in vegetable oil, olives with bread or tuna with mayonnaise. This is because the liver produces bile salts which the fats require to break down. The fats plus protein combination slows down digestion. Instead, using small amounts of oil or using unrefined oils like coconut oil while cooking, can be beneficial.
-> Fruits during or after a meal is a bad idea, though it is a very common practice. This is due to the fact that fruit travels fast through the stomach and starts digesting in the intestines. When you mix such food with foods such as grains, meat and even other fruits such as bananas and dried fruits, it causes the fruit in your stomach to stay too long and start to ferment. As an alternative, eating fruits 30 to 60 minutes before meals can be helpful. When fruit is eaten on its own on an empty stomach, it prepares the digestive tract for the meal. The water content in the fruit hydrates the pathway, enzymes are activated and the digestive fire is put into action. It is also best to eat different fruits separately and not mix them up.
Though there are other reasons why you should not combine certain foods together, the basic principle behind that logic stays the same – you do not want to confuse your digestive tract by pumping in foods of very diverse qualities with very diverse rates of digestion. For more details on the best food combinations you can use, feel free to consult our dietician here.