Food combining – mix and match smartly

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Every living being interacts with the universe in terms of three types of inputs into its body namely sun rays, air and food/These three affect the health of a living being in primary sense. Human beings are the most sensitive living forms and are therefore affected the most. Quality of sun rays and air is not in much control of human being, but the food that we ingest can be in full control. But majority of us, eat what our tongue likes no matter whether the food is healthy or not. The traditional food and wrong cooking methods spoil it further. To name few famous Indian dishes like, palak-paneer, puran-poli, besan laddu, chicken biryani and others like milk shakes, non-veg burgers are good example of wrong food combinations.

Wrong combinations of food take more time for digestion. It causes more residual time of food in gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to fermentation of food, flatulence and generation of toxins which can get into systemic circulation. In consequence the total health is affected.

Everybody can understand the seriousness of incompatibilities of medicines and its consequences, but we neglect the fact that daily food that we eat if wrongly combined can also affect our health to great extent. This article is an attempt to emphasis this fact of our day-to-day life which is related to our health.

Every body knows that we categorize food as carbohydrates, proteins and fats but from homeostasis maintenance point of view, food can be classified as acidic and alkaline. We all must eat more of alkaline food as we tend to eat acidic food in majority. Examples of acidic and alkaline food are:

Alkaline foods: All vegetables.

Acidic foods: Carbohydrates, proteins, all natural oils, butter, and ghee.

Time required for digestion of different types of foods is different. Time needed for digestion of any kind food increases by cooking, especially frying and combining with incompatible food items.

Wrong combinations of food take more time for digestion. It causes more residual time of food in gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to fermentation of food, flatulence and generation of toxins which can get into systemic circulation. In consequence the total health is affected.

Right and Wrong food combinations

1. Grains with acidic fruits are incompatible.

Grains rich in starch like wheat, bajra, jawar, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc. and sweet fruits such as dates incompatible with acidic food items like lemons, oranges, pineapples, tomatoes, tamarind and kokam (Garcinia indica ).

Reason: Ptyalin in the saliva can act in alkaline environment or minute acidic environment. High acidity stops action of ptyalin and digestion of starch. Therefore, eating acidic fruits at dinner ruins digestion and sweet and sour fruits do not go together.

2. Proteins with Starches and sugar are incompatible.

Reason: Enzymes required for digestion of proteins and starches are different. Proteins are digested in stomach in an acidic medium. Starches absorb the pepsin necessary for the digestion of proteins. This delays the digestion and this prolonged presence of starches in the stomach causes fermentation and gases. When starches and proteins are combined together the process of digestion is delayed because of digestion of proteins is given preference over that of starch. In the stomach, acid juices are readily released in presence of proteins. They destroy ptyalin.

3. Different types of proteins are incompatible. Animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs etc) and vegetable proteins (pulses, nuts) are different types of proteins.

Each protein is structurally different from the others, the nature of the digestive juice, the proportion of the juices; the time required for the digestion is different for each of the proteins. So combining different proteins should be carefully avoided.

4. Proteins and fats are incompatible.

Fats slow down the peristaltic movement. The glands which release digestive juices are therefore not able to release them in sufficient quantities. Fatty acids may lessen the activity of the gastric glands, that lowers the amount of pepsin and hydrochloric acid and may lower the entire digestive tone more than fifty percent and (Hygienic system Vbl II – Dr. Shelton). Natural foods like ‘pulses’ which contains both proteins and starches are therefore difficult to digest.

5. Starches and sugars are incompatible.

Polysaccharides and starches take longer time for digestion than mono and disaccharides that causes fermentation of sugars in gut. Also sugar causes a plentiful release of saliva but contains no ptyalin and so it takes a long time for the starch in the food to digest.

For better understanding let’s see examples of various types of foods

a. Sweet Fruits – banana, papaya, chikkoo, custard apple (Sitaphal), Ramphal, dates, figs, guava, jackfruit.

b. Sour fruits/acid fruits – Lemons, tamarind, tomato, pineapple, amla, orange, sweet lime.

c. Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, lettuce, methi etc.

d. Fleshy vegetables: Gourds, snake gourd, pumpkin, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, brinjals, onions, potatoes, ladies fingers, peas etc.

Every pathy believes no medication can give new functions to the body it can just change the rates at which various metabolic processes take place in the body. The cure is done by the vital power of the body. When digestive system so made to over function, big share of vital power of the body is utilized for the digestion and less is available for other functions and maintenance of health and cure. In this sense and otherwise also it can be said that the key to good health is good and healthy digestive system. Bad eating habits and wrong food combinations weaken it to great extent and therefore must be taken care of.

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