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7 Simple Food Combinations to Try (or Avoid) for Health

July 22, 2013

Food combining is a healthful approach to eating that is rooted in Ayurveda. The premise is that certain foods should be eaten together or at certain points during a meal for optimum digestive health, whereas other food combinations should be avoided.

There are thought to be several immediate symptoms that result from bad food pairings such as bloating, gas or diarrhea. If bad food combining goes on for a long period of time, more serious symptoms can develop such as trouble sleeping, weight gain, low energy, skin and digestive disorders.

If any of these symptoms sound like something that you already have, you may want to consider giving these food combination guidelines a try. As with all dietary recommendations, they don’t work for everyone, but sticking to it for a few weeks will determine if this is the right way of eating for your body!


  1. Avoid fruit after a meal – Fruit is made up of simple sugars which are easily digested and do not need to stay in the stomach for a long period of time. When eaten with more complex foods that take longer to digest, the fruit stays in the stomach for too long and starts to ferment.
  2. Drink warm water – Small sips of warm water during a meal can help aid digestion. Do not drink extremely cold water as the body uses too much effort to move it through the digestive tract, which should be saved to digest your meal.
  3. Skip the cheese at Mexican restaurants – The combination of beans and cheese with the acidity of the tomatoes and guacamole that usually make their way on to your plate at Mexican restaurants is very hard to digest and often leads to gas and bloating. Eliminating the cheese will make digestion easier.
  4. Eat melons alone – If you're craving a nice and refreshing melon this summer, try to avoid eating it with other fruits, meat or dairy. Melon can be difficult to digest if paired with anything else and is best eaten alone.
  5. No need for double protein – Avoid having two types of protein on your plate, such as bacon and eggs or tofu and beans as the body has a difficult time digesting large amounts of protein. Instead, pick one type of protein and pair it with grains or vegetables.
  6. Find an alternative to tomato sauce – Tomatoes are highly acidic foods and are difficult to digest when paired with carbohydrates and dairy, which includes most pasta dishes. The reason you often feel tired after a large Italian meal is because your body has to use so much energy to metabolize the food combination. Instead, try ordering a meat dish with tomato sauce or pasta with pesto.
  7. Don’t add milk to your banana smoothie – According to Ayurveda, dairy and bananas is the worst food combination as it slows your digestive process and makes you feel heavy and lethargic for a long period of time. Instead, try adding coconut or almond milk to your smoothie.


The biggest challenge with sticking to the food combination guidelines is that many popular meals in the Standard American Diet (SAD) do not follow them. For example, having fruit after a meal or pairing dairy with carbohydrates is common. Being mindful with what you choose to eat and preparing most of your meals at home could help you incorporate Ayurveda’s recommended food combination into your diet.

If you already follow this way of eating, what are some of your favorite dishes to make?