Why Food Combinations?

All the times your stomach was upset or you were suffering from gas, bloating, acidity, indigestion; It could be due to eating wrong combinations of food.

According to ayurveda, every food has its’ own rasa (taste), virya (heating or cooling energy) and vipaka (post digestion effect).  So while it is true, every individual’s agni determines how the food is digested. Food combinations are equally important. Especially for people with weak digestion or stomach issues. Poor food combinations lead to indigestion, fermentation, putrefaction and gas and toxic formation.

Food Combinations that hinder digestion

1) Fruits with anything else: Fruits are easily digested, while other foods take time. Inhibited by the more complex food, the fruit tends to move through the digestive tract too slowly and can cause fermentation, gas, and bloating

2) Liquids and Solids: As a law, no liquid should be taken with solids. Liquid tends to pass away immediately into the intestines taking away all the digestive enzymes thus inhibiting the digestion. Liquids should be taken at least 20 minutes prior to meal and not immediately after or along with meal. But they can be taken one hour after meal.

3) Mixing two proteins: Each type of protein requires a specific character, strength and timing of digestive juice secretions. This means that no two types of concentrated protein should be consumed together at a meal. Nuts, meat, eggs, cheese, or other protein foods should not be eaten together. And no two types of animal protein should be eaten together.

4) Meat and Dairy: Meat and dairy should never be eaten together. Meat is heating and milk is cooling so this is a bad combo. They contradict one another, upsetting agni and producing toxins.

5) Cooking with honey: Honey becomes toxic when cooked. Cooked or heated honey takes long to digest and its molecules become glued to stick to mucous membrane and lock fine channels, producing poison.

6) Olive oil and nuts: Olive oil and nuts are commonly combined in pesto and salad dressings. Olive oil is a fat and nuts are a protein. Again, the raw fat has an inhibiting effect of the digestion of the protein.

7) Yogurt and fruit: Mixing any sour fruits with dairy  diminishes the digestive fire, changes the intestinal flora, produces toxins and causes sinus congestion, cold, cough and allergies.  However, if you can’t resist the temptation of a flavored yogurt, there are ways to make it more digestion friendly. First of all, go for a room temperature natural unflavored yogurt.  Secondly, mix a little bit of honey, cinnamon, and raisins instead of sour berries.

8) Bananas and Milk: Though commonly eaten together, bananas and milk are challenging to digest together because their qualities are so different. Bananas are heating while milk is cooling. Further, bananas become sour as they break down.  Ever added a squeeze of lemon to milk? Or maybe you’ve poured a little milk into a tangy, fruity tea… only to watch it curdle instantly? What happens to these mismatched foods in the digestive tract is not much different.

9) Milk: Milk never combines well with any other food. As, milk is a complete and concentrated food in itself. It requires full digestive process of its own kind. Milk is a totally different protein than other concentrated proteins like meat, eggs, nuts, etc. Milk doesn’t digest in stomach but in duodenum hence in the presence of milk, stomach doesn’t respond with its secretion.

10) Fresh food with leftovers: Fresh food is full of prana (life force) and nutrients. These start to diminish soon after it’s cooked. By the time it’s a leftover, its properties have changed and it’s heavy for the body to digest. Avoid food that’s been cooked for more than 24 hours before. And don’t mix fresh food with leftovers as the nutrient value decreases.

11) Find an alternative to tomato sauce: Tomatoes are highly acidic foods and are difficult to digest when paired with carbohydrates and dairy, which includes most pasta dishes. The reason you often feel tired after a large Italian meal is because your body has to use so much energy to metabolize the food combination. Instead, try ordering a meat dish with tomato sauce or pasta with pesto.

12) Curd should NOT be consumed in the night: Buttermilk helps in digestion whereas curds to the contrary are heavy to digest. It can be best digested at lunch time when the digestive abilities are the strongest. Curd is acidic in nature. It aggravates pitta and kapha as it produces a lot of heat in the stomach. Curds are heavy, slow to digest and can be constipating too. People with weak digestion should avoid its consumption.

Sticking to easy-to-digest food combinations is done primarily to reduce digestive unease and to reduce the energy consumption on digestion processes and therefore increase the energy resources of the body left to do other things besides dealing with a grumbling tummy. When you need energy to heal and recover, food combining is more important than during the times when you feel rested and healthy.

For Digestive bliss, eat foods that do not fight together. Have a blissful day!! 

Iti Jain