The perfect mix for digestion
By Deepshika Punj
10th March 2013 12:00 AM
If your daily gastronomical routine includes bread and banana for breakfast, rice and fish for lunch and a salad with oranges and tomatoes, or meat and cheese or nuts for dinner, you are heading for a total body meltdown, says a research by Dr N K Sharma, a Delhi-based naturopath and founder of the Reiki Healing Centre.
The naturopath says that given the choice of food items, we can be more susceptible to digestive problems. “Foods of different character require different body enzymes and stomach conditions for digestion,” says Sharma. He adds that our body can handle, secrete and digest completely one food at a time smoothly. It has no provision to secrete and digest different foods at a given time, hence delayed, imperfect digestion and fermentation. Consequently, the best food turns into poison without proper combination.
“For instance, proteins require an absolute acid environment in the stomach for their digestion and starchy food requires alkaline environment. The stomach, of course, cannot possibly be acidic and alkaline at the same time. As many students of chemistry will assure you that acid and base (alkaline), neutralise each other. If you eat starch with a protein, digestion is impaired or completely arrested. The intestinal channel remains deranged until it is passed out. Undigested food mass is the best soil for bacterial worms and parasitic developments. Fermentation, putrefaction and decomposition leads to poisoning and a variety of diseases,” says Sharma.
Having worked on the subject for 25 years, Sharma started his work by categorising basic combinations. He begins by what not to eat. Acidic fruits and starch must be avoided, he states. “Acid-fruit destroys ‘ptyalin’, a salivary alkaline enzyme, and inhibits starch digestion. In the presence of acids, no alkaline juices are properly secreted, hence gas and fermentation. Lemon, tomato and tamarind are great hindrance to starch digestion,” he says. He also says that protein must also be avoided with protein since it is impossible to meet the requirements of two different proteins at the same meal. “Two different proteins with different compositions call for different modifications of the digestive secretions, and different timings of secretions to digest them efficiently. The strongest juice is poured upon flesh in the first hour of digestion and upon milk in the last hour, egg receives the strongest secretion at a different time than that received by either flesh or milk or nuts. However, nuts can be eaten with different nuts, and flesh with different flesh,” says Sharma.
Additionally, since fruits and sugars ferment with all foods, they must not be taken with proteins, starches or fats. “They will be held up in the stomach and consequently interfere in digestion,” he says.
Food items such as melons, milk, liquids and juices must be consumed individually. Being a liquid food, milk cannot go efficiently with any other food since it does not digest in stomach but in deuodenum. Hence, in the presence of milk, the stomach does not respond with its secretion. This prevents the digestion of other foods. “Melons digest quicker than other foods and may ferment even with fruits sometimes, and being a sweet fruit, it can go with sweet fruits but not with acidic fruits. Secondly, as a law, no liquid should be taken with solids. Liquid tends to pass away immediately into the intestine, taking away all the digestive enzymes thus inhibiting the digestion,” he says.
Additionally, liquids must be taken prior to the meal, or one hour after the meal. “All toxic beverages like tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks are great hindrance to normal digestion. Gastric secretions are severely restricted in their presence. Also, all fruit juices are passed faster than fruits into the intestine. Its stagnation with solids definitely ferments and can play havoc. Citrus fruit juices and lemon water dumps down starch digestion, creating severe gas and fermentation. Better to take it alone in empty stomach,” he says.
“Do not eat nuts, meat, eggs, cheese, or other protein foods at the same meal with bread, cereals, potatoes, sweet fruits and cakes,” says Sharma. The processes of digestion of these two types of foods are so different that they do not take place with any degree of efficiency at the same time.
Last but not the least, Sharma mentions that sugar must never be taken with proteins. He says, “All sugars taken with protein and milk hinder protein digestion.” When eaten with other food, they are held up in the stomach for a prolonged period awaiting the digestion of other foods, and they undergo fermentation.
THE WRONG COMBINATIONS
● Do not eat proteins and starches in the same meal.
● Never eat carbohydrate foods and acid foods together.
● Do not eats acid-fruits with proteins.
● Never combine sugar with starch and protein digestion.
● The combination of eating carbohydrate (starches) with legumes in India is not good. Due to the starchy part of legumes, it can be a tolerable combination with other carbohydrate foods such as rice, wheat and maize. Digestive system has to put an extra effort to handle such combinations and, therefore, it cannot be strongly recommended.
● Combination of proteins and carbohydrates are not recommended.
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