Eating certain foods together to enhance digestion is called food combining. Different digestive substances that occur in certain food groups can help other food groups digest easier if eaten together. Eating the wrong foods together can result in gas or indigestion. Consult with your doctor before changing your diet.
Starches and Vegetables
Starches and vegetables take about the same amount of time to digest, making them a suitable food group combination. Examples of starches would be whole grains, potatoes and squashes. Try to only have one starch per meal. Some vegetables are also slightly starchy. Those vegetables include beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes and turnips. Try cooking mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and pasta together for an easily digestable meal.
Proteins and Vegetables
Proteins, such as nuts, dried beans, eggs, cheese and meat ,combine well with green, leafy vegetables, such as greens beans, kale or arugula. Try to only eat one protein per meal. It takes vegetables anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to digest. Proteins can take up to four hours to digest. For a digestible protein and vegetable meal, try combining mustard greens and black eyed peas. REF 2
Foods Not to Combine
According to the director of the Preventative Medical Center of Marin, Elson Haas, M.D., eating fruit with any other food group should be avoided. Fruit digests very quickly alone, but when combined with another food group, it spends extra time in the stomach, causing fermentation. In turn, this can lead to gas, indigestion and cramps. However, citrus fruits and nuts may be combined. Haas recommends eating fruit alone first thing in the morning.
Additional Tips and Considerations
Try to eat dairy products alone, as they do not digest well with other foods. Melons digest very rapidly so avoid eating them after a meal or they could cause gas. Combining the wrong food groups together can make you feel sluggish and tired because your body has to work harder to digest the food. Taking the time to be mindful of what you eat will keep your body feeling light and healthy.
- "Staying Healthy with the Seasons"; Elson M. Haas, M.D.; 2003
- Yoga Journal: The Right Combination