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Food Combining for Optimum Nutrition: The Basics

Posted by SoundHealth on Thursday, February 05, 2009
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Food combining follows the simple idea that proteins and starches should not be combined in the same meal, because they are digested by the body in different ways. Proteins like meat, chicken or fish are broken down by acid gastric juices in the stomach, while starches like bread, rice and potatoes start to break down when they come into contact with the alkaline juices of the mouth.

If a meal is consumed that contains both starches and proteins, digestion slows right down, and food remains in the digestive system for too long, encouraging fermentation, gas, and production of toxins. Over time, this can cause colon irregularities and illnesses.

Benefits of Food Combining

Correct food combining will help you to maintain optimum health by improving the diet and reducing your risk of illness. It will also:

  • Improve digestion
  • Aid the absorption of vital nutrients
  • Increase energy levels
  • Balance body weight
  • Enhance your general well-being

Following food-combining methods have found to improve a range of conditions including respiratory and food allergies, arthritis, recurring infections, skin conditions, and digestion problems like heartburn, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.

weight loss

Food combining has regularly been used as a successful method of losing weight. Unlike diets, food combining encourages changing long-term eating habits, eating three good meals a day, and not restricting calorie intake. Diets are usually seen as 'quick fixes', something that you 'come on' and when you have lost the weight, you 'come off'. A lot of the time, people return to their old eating habits and put the weight straight back on. This is one of the reasons why diets don't work in the long term, and will be explained further in a future article inshaa'Allah.

Correct food combining helps you to eat more healthily and balance you weight in the long term.


Food allergies have started to become more prevalent, but real allergies are very rare. If you think you have a food allergy, more likely it is food sensitivity or food intolerance. Food combining can relieve the symptoms of food sensitivity by improving digestive efficiency.

If food is not digested properly, it can cause unfriendly bacteria to grow, which can in turn create toxic substances that are absorbed into the bloodstream. The body will react to this unknown invader by trying to eliminate it, causing immune system stress and allergic reactions. Food combining may also help to support the immune system and reduce respiratory illnesses.

A renowned food combining practitioner observed that food allergies cleared up completely when individuals affected used 'digestible combinations'. In other words, it was the incompatible combination of foods that were causing symptoms, and not the foods themselves.

The Basics

Food combining is based on the principles that different foods take different lengths on time to pass through the digestive system. Most animal-based proteins will take from four to eight hours to be broken down. Starches are digested more quickly, taking three to four hours, fruit takes about thirty minutes.

It is true that nearly all foods, including vegetables contain both protein and starch, but when they occur in foods in very small amounts, they do not require the same level of digestive effort as larger-quantity ones. The greater percentage of protein or starch in each food decides its food-combining category.

Good food-combining is very simple; there are two basic rules to remember.

Rule 1

Eat fruit on an empty stomach. This can be first thing on a morning or between meals, but not combined with other foods, or as a dessert or in the middle of a meal. This is because fruit is digested a lot quicker than proteins or starches and requires less energy to digest. Combining fruit with other foods can lead to fermentation and purification.

Rule 2

Do not combine proteins and starches in the same meal. However, vegetables and salads can be combined with either proteins or starches.

This is an overview of food combining for optimum health. Future articles will go into more detail and explore the different food categories, foods that combine well, the acid/alkaline balance, etc.

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