Great nutrition goes beyond what we read on food labels. All foods have their own unique properties, but understanding how to combine them can make our diet even healthier. To get healthy food combinations, you should know the main food groups and how to combine them to make nutrient-rich meals. Let’s go over how food combining works and suggest some powerful food combos, so you have plenty of nutritious options to add to your recipe book.
The Benefits Of Healthy Food Combinations
There are numerous benefits to healthy food combinations. The goal of food combining is to improve digestion and health by considering what foods we pair together. Certain types of foods consumed together can lead to poor digestion because of the gastric acids released. As a result, the wrong food combinations impair digestion and cause symptoms such as bloating, gas, nausea, or general discomfort.
Keep in mind that the stomach can only digest one type of food at a time. That’s why you must be aware of food groups in your diet to create healthy food combinations.
What Happens If I Don’t Combine Foods Correctly?
Without healthy food combinations, your body won’t be able to absorb nutrients properly and efficiently eliminate the unnecessary elements.
In addition, medical studies also show that poor food combinations can weaken the body’s natural defenses and make it more vulnerable to illness.
Why Is Healthy Food Combining Good For Me?
- Promotes digestion
- Drastically improves nutrient absorption
- Prevents food fermentation
- Prevents bloating and discomfort
- Keeps your weight under control
- Prevents acid-producing digestion
- Reduces acid reflux
- Prevents toxin build-up
Overview Of The Five Food Groups
Before you start combining foods, it’s important to know the food groups involved in healthy food combinations.
- Legumes: beans, fava beans, chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, peanuts.
- Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts.
- Animal products: milk, meat, fish, cheese, eggs.
- Cereals: rice, wheat, rye, oatmeal, bread, pasta.
- Grains and cereals: quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth.
- Root vegetables and tubers: pumpkin, potato, carrot, yucca, etc.
- Leafy greens: Lettuce, kale, cabbage, Swiss chard.
- Other vegetables: Celery, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, radishes, cucumber, bell pepper.
4. Fats and oils
- Fats: avocado, coconut, olive, butter, and margarine.
- Oils: vegetable oil, seed oil, and nut oil.
- Sweet: bananas, dates, dried fruit, figs, grapes, papayas.
- Sub-acidic: apple, pear, berries, cherries, mango, grapes.
- Acidic: orange, lemon, lime, pineapple, strawberries.
Winning tips for healthy food combinations
1. Eat fruit on its own
Don’t combine fruit with other foods. Fruit nutrients are best absorbed in the body this way, especially in the morning or around noon.
Remember to watch out for very acidic fruits – such as kiwi, pineapple, orange, strawberries, and cherries – as they disrupt nutrient absorption when eaten together.
2. Combine veggies with carbohydrates, legumes, and proteins
Carbohydrates with veggies
Combine foods rich in slow-release carbohydrates – such as pasta, rice, or potatoes – with veggies or legumes. Be careful when mixing them with animal proteins or fats, as they become indigestible.
Legumes with veggies
Mix legumes and veggies to get nutrient-rich proteins. This option is one of our top recommendations because it’s simple, nutritious, and healthy.
Protein with veggies
Animal protein – such as meat, eggs, and fish – can take a toll on the body and require longer digestion. You can avoid reflux and gas by making healthy food combinations with fresh veggies, such as asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, or lettuce. This will speed up digestion and prevent any discomfort. On the contrary, eating things like french fries, rice or peas, will slow down your digestion.
3. Avoid drinking water during meals
Drinking too much water during your meal can dilute gastric acids and make it more difficult to absorb nutrients and complete digestion.
What’s the best way to eat fruit?
Fruit is a unique food group worthy of looking at more closely. Of all food groups, fruit is digested the fastest and may take as little as half an hour for the stomach to process it. Let’s take a deep dive into fruit’s digestive characteristics so you know how to create healthy food combinations with them.
When having a protein-rich meal, be wary of eating fruit as a starter or a dessert. The sugar in the fruit will remain at high temperatures while waiting to be digested. As a result, it will end up fermenting and acidifying the rest of the food you eat.
Green leafy vegetables are the only foods that combine well with fruit. You can mix subacid fruits with acidic or sweet ones. However, avoid mixing sweet fruits with acidic ones.
Melon should also be eaten on its own because of its unique characteristics. Of all types of fruit, it takes the least time to digest, and eating it with other fruit can slow down this process.
For healthy food combinations, it’s important to avoid eating fruit at lunch or during a meal. As a general rule of thumb, fruit should be eaten at least an hour and a half before any meal.
Examples of healthy food combinations
Lentils with rice
Rice satisfies hunger and contains methionine, which is scarce in legumes and excellent for fighting fats. In addition, legumes contain lysine, an amino acid that promotes cell reproduction and growth, which isn’t found in cereals. This makes lentils a top choice for healthy food combinations.
Couscous salad with nuts and seeds
Besides the fact that it offers a great taste and look, this recipe gives you a nutritious meal with only vegetables.
Steak, garlic, and onions
Garlic and onions encourage the body to absorb zinc. When combined with meat, this meal is packed with minerals and iron for a powerful combo to keep your body healthy.
Eggs with tomato
Don’t worry if this combo seems strange to you. It’s healthy and can easily be added to your recipe book. The vitamin C in the tomato helps absorb the iron in the egg.
Chickpeas with spinach
Chickpeas provide carbohydrates, fiber, and iron, which combine well with the water, vitamin C, and calcium in spinach.
Whole eggs and spinach
A study from Purdue University revealed that those who eat spinach with eggs absorb up to nine times more antioxidants and carotenoids than those who eat eggs on their own.
In case you didn’t know, a diet high in carotenoid-rich foods – such as spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes – can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Cheese with veggies and nuts
Leafy salads with cheese, almonds, or dipped in yogurt sauce make a great mix. Vegetables and nuts are neutral foods that don’t produce acidity in the stomach. At the same time, they provide vitamins, fiber, and vitamin B, while dairy products provide animal proteins.
Potatoes and red pepper
Capsaicin, an ingredient in cayenne pepper, increases the absorption of beta-carotene. This powerful antioxidant converts into vitamin A, which is essential for eyesight. Hot peppers are also rich in capsaicin.
Spaghetti with pesto sauce
Pesto sauce is delicious and combines basil with pine nuts, which allow the fat-soluble vitamins in the herbs to better absorb. In addition, the carbohydrates in the pasta can be easily digested.
Get started with healthy food combinations
As you can see, combining healthy foods can produce some great health benefits, from helping prevent cancer, to improving your eyesight. With a little practice, you can make healthy food combinations a daily habit.
You can get more ideas for healthy food combinations here: