Certain combinations of foods can eliminate indigestion and other gastric annoyances.
Food combining is not a concept that many Americans are familiar with. Most of us were raised to believe that well-rounded meals consist of a meat, a vegetable, and a starch. When Mom served fried chicken, there were also green beans, mashed potatoes, and hot rolls with butter. In time, many people who have spent a lifetime eating in this manner develop frequent indigestion or even ulcers.
Generally, people with digestive problems blame spicy foods and immediately begin to cut things like onions from their diets, often with little effect. Studies show the problem isn’t “what”, but “when”. Our systems can digest many different things, but when they are all heaped together, they are not broken down properly.
Two Digestive Types
Our bodies have two ways to break down foods: an acidic method for proteins such as meats, fish, and cheese, and an alkaline method for carbohydrates (starch and sugar). Proteins are digested in the stomach by gastric juices, which are acidic, and carbohydrates are digested in the large intestine by pancreatic juices, which are alkaline.
The odd man out in this scenario is fat. Fats travel through the body undigested to the small intestine, where bile from the gall bladder breaks them up and releases fatty acids. Should the small intestine also be chipping away on some carbohydrates, the fatty acids neutralize the alkaline secretions. The carbohydrates do not digest, begin to ferment, and cause gas.
Meat and Potatoes
It’s hard to say no to a baked potato when there’s a fat steak sitting on the plate, or to turn down a piece of toast with bacon and eggs, but the sugars in potatoes and bread inhibit the production of acids that the stomach needs to digest protein.
Acids and Carbs
Remember, carbohydrates need alkaline secretions to digest properly, and acidic foods inhibit this. As with fats, carbohydrates do not digest properly in the presence of acids.
Nothing needs to be eliminated from the diet, just eaten at different times. Food combining may not work for everyone, but when wrestling with annoying digestive problems, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try.
The list of alkaline and acidic foods on this site is also a good place to start when improving your health using food combining techniques.
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