When it comes to food and our senses, most people think that only taste and sight are important. The truth is that all our five senses interact in different ways to influence our experiences with various food and beverages.
Similarly, most people mistakenly assume digestion starts in the stomach when it actually starts in the brain. The brain depends on our senses to get things ready for digestion. When you see, smell, taste or even think about food, your brain sends a signal that triggers the production of saliva as well as stomach acid. The color, appearance, texture, and smell of food all serve to either increase or lower your appetite. Your sense of hearing isn’t left behind either as hearing food being prepared or the different sounds of a meal being enjoyed can trigger the same hunger response.
Understanding how important the senses are to our enjoyment of food can help us choose healthier food combinations. After all, if you are going to go to the trouble of preparing healthy, nutrient-dense meals, you also need to ensure that your body is getting as much nutritive value from them as possible.
Healthy Food Combinations For Better Health
- Water with your meals. Opinion is divided on whether it is advisable to take liquids together with your meals. There are those who claim that drinking water during mealtime dilutes stomach acid, making digestion difficult. However, studies have shown that sipping water gradually over the course of a meal may help promote weight loss by preventing overeating.
Additionally, water aids in the breakdown of food, allowing it to move smoothly along the digestive system, preventing constipation and bloating. The trick is to slowly sip a little water with your food as opposed to gulping down cupfuls immediately before or during meals.
- Enjoying leafy greens with healthy fats. Leafy green vegetables are rich in vitamins A, D, E and K, also known as fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins need dietary fats for absorption in the body. So if greens are on the menu, be sure to combine them with some form of healthy dietary fat to get the most nutrients out of them.
- Combining iron with vitamin C. Taking iron-rich foods together with those packed with vitamin C boosts iron absorption, increasing oxygen distribution throughout your body. Besides, most foods rich in vitamin C, like fruits, make a colorful addition to any meal, further tantalizing your senses.
- Eating carbohydrates together with healthy fats. When you eat carbohydrates, the body quickly breaks them down into glucose. Depending on their glycemic index, this process can take minutes or hours and can cause dangerous spikes in your blood sugar levels. Healthy fats are therefore invaluable in slowing down the absorption of glucose, helping to balance out blood sugar while keeping your energy levels stable
Food combining allows you to take a more conscious approach to what you’re feeding your body. However, keep in mind that foods react differently to each other so only go for combinations that not only stimulate your senses but also enhance your health.