Food Combining: How to Make it Work for You

Food combining NF blog

Why do some meals cause temporary stomach upset, but you can eat the same foods with no problem any other time? It all comes down to food combining.

What is Food Combining?

Essentially, food combining is rooted in the idea that some foods require different digestive environments, and are better eaten separately. Not all food combining theories hold water, but there are certain principles that make physiological sense – and can help support your health, both immediate and long-term. Certain food combinations result in bloating, nausea, fatigue, and gas. Just a few simple dietary swaps can lead to better digestion and energy.

Common Food Combinations To Re-Think

These food combinations may appear on your plate on a regular basis:

Fruit Salad for Dessert

Fruit doesn’t mix well with other foods, especially meat. Because fruit contains simple sugars, it digests very quickly. When it’s eaten after a meal, it can stay in the stomach longer.

Melon and Prosciutto Salad

Yes, it’s a fruit, but this food combining rule goes double for melon. A great quick energy boost when eaten alone, it can turn into lethargy if eaten in combination with other foods, especially protein.

Bean and Cheese Burrito

This staple on Tex-Mex menus has a reputation for wreaking havoc on digestion – and the beans often take the blame. However, the combination of beans and another protein, like dairy or animal protein, can cause discomfort.

Milk and Cereal With Orange Juice

Breakfast of champions? Not necessarily. Acidic orange juice can affect the enzymes that digest the starches in cereal, and acidic juices don’t mix well with milk in your stomach.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Combining protein and starch can affect salivary digestion of starches. If you can’t resist (we know – it’s tough!) try adding a fresh green salad. Greens can stimulate digestion and help with normally hard-to-digest foods. In fact, adding greens is a good rule of thumb regardless of other foods on the table. Salad or lightly steamed greens help to promote digestion while adding important nutrients, such as fiber and folate.

Ultimately, food combining comes down to a mindful approach to nutrition. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips on healthy eating!