Food combinations? Yes, please. I mean, where would peanut butter be without jelly, cheese without salami, or mashed potatoes without the gravy. Would Mexican food even be what it is without that glob of guac? Everyone has their favorite food combinations, but as they slide into your stomach are they welcomed with open arms or does your body revolt?
Some of America’s most loved food combinations wreak havoc on the digestive system. It’s no coincidence that it feels like you swallowed a fist-sized rock after you eat certain foods together or find yourself doubled over with constipation the morning after a potluck where you tried every dish on the table. Bad food combinations can leave you bloated, gassy, tired, and can even lead to fatal illnesses like cancer. Even that friendly rash or outcropping of bad breath can be blamed on improper food combinations. Here’s a breakdown of what to combinations to skip if you want to avoid hours on the pot and a whole host of other side effects.
1. Surf and turf
Remember the last time you splurged on date night and indulged in surf and turf? There’s something quite irresistible about a thick juicy steak paired with butter-coated lobster. It may taste like heaven on a plate but chances are you didn’t feel great afterwards. Mixing two different animal proteins together is a major food combination no-no. It takes a long time for your body to digest protein, so when you mix two different proteins together your stomach will be overwhelmed leading to a subsequent stomach ache and digestive hold up.
2. Grilled cheese sandwich
Yes, you read that correctly, combinations like grilled cheese sandwiches are a big don’t when it comes to healthy food combinations. When you mix protein with starch your salivary digestion of starch is inhibited. Protein and starch need different enzymes and different levels of acidity to be digested, so when you eat them together your body will react by digesting the protein but not the starch. That undigested starch undergoes fermentation and decomposition in the body leading to not so pleasant after effects. While this combination surely makes the list of food combos to avoid, it may be the hardest to follow as it includes favorites like lasagna, pizza, and chowders.
3. Fruit with … anything
Sure, we could tell you to steer clear of melon and prosciutto or fruit and yogurt, but when it comes down to it, fruit paired with any other food will lead to disaster. Fruit speeds through your digestive tract faster than practically any other food, so when it’s paired with nuts, cereal, eggs, or anything besides other fruits, it will get clogged up in your system rather than digesting at its natural speed. For the same reason, fruit should never be eaten directly after a meal. Save yourself the stomach troubles and only eat fruit by itself. The only exceptions are dates in milk or dried fruit boiled together with a grain, like oatmeal and raisins. When eating most fruits give your body at least 20 minutes to digest the fruit before ingesting any other foods. For best results, try only eating fresh fruit first thing in the morning.
4. Spaghetti, marinara, and cheese
There is nothing like a big bowl of pasta coated with spicy marinara and a thick layer of parmesan, but this delicious food combination will leave you with digestive troubles and after-meal fatigue. Tomatoes are very acidic and shouldn’t be mixed with starchy carbohydrates like pasta. When you throw on the parmesan cheese, it only makes a bad situation worse. Your body will require a ton of energy just to digest this seemingly harmless meal.
5. Candied walnut gorgonzola salad
It sounds healthy, right? You’ve got your greens, some crunchy protein, a dash of sweet, and the creamy goodness of gorgonzola cheese. The combination may taste delicious, but your stomach won’t find it as appealing as you do. Cheese and nuts are among the most difficult foods for your body to digest. When you mix them together in one meal, it will put a hefty burden on your digestive system as it works to break down both protein sources. Replace the walnuts with roasted beets for a lighter, stomacg-friendly version of this salad.