Never Combine Fruits and Vegetables at a meal

Digestion of carbs and vegetables begins in your mouth, where an enzyme in saliva called amylase begins breaking down complex carbohydrates and releases some sugar, sometimes causing a slightly sweet taste while you chew. In your stomach, acid helps soften the chewed vegetables. When they reach your small intestine, amylase enzymes made by your pancreas continue the digestive process, along with enzymes that are part of the membranes surrounding intestinal lining cells. Digestion of carbs produces simple sugars such as glucose, which travels in your blood and provides energy to all your cells.

Proteins in vegetables begin digestion in your stomach, where an enzyme called pepsin starts the process, partially digesting 10 percent to 15 percent of the proteins. Protein digestion is completed in your small intestine through the action of other enzymes present in pancreatic juice. The final products, amino acids, are absorbed by intestinal lining cells and transferred into your blood.

Digestion of fat in vegetables begins in your mouth, where an enzyme made by glands in your tongue starts the process. A similar enzyme, called lipase, is also made in your stomach -- but only about 15 percent of fat is digested by the time it reaches leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine. There, compounds in bile from your liver, called bile acids and bile salts, break up fat droplets into smaller forms that the cells lining your intestine can absorb.

On the other hand, fruit is a simple carbohydrate, the sugar is quickly absorbed during digestion.  Fruit breaks down, digests, and leaves the stomach in about twenty to thirty minutes. Because of this, fruit should be eaten on an empty stomach.

Fruit needs to be eaten on an empty stomach because if fruit is eaten after a meal such as rice and beans, the digestive system will be working hard to digest the proteins and starches of that meal before it can digest the sugary fruit. This is important because if the digestive system is backed up, the fruit will begin to ferment and acidify by the time it reaches the intestines. Fermented fruit in the small intestines causes bloating, cramps, and gas. By following the simple rule of eating fruit on an empty stomach, abdominal discomforts from a backed up digestive system can be avoided.

This brings up the concept of eating light to heavy. Fruit is considered light because it is quick digesting. Rice and beans are considered heavy because it is slow digesting. Therefore, knowing how different foods digest can allow for proper digestion. Protein and starches are slow digesting while fruits and greens are fast digesting. Vegetables are in the middle range when it comes to speed of digestion. When following the concept of eating light to heavy, your digestive system will be in balance. Be sure to skip the strawberry shortcake or apple pie for dessert in order to avoid an unhappy digestive system. In fact, skip dessert altogether!

A great way to start each day is with fresh fruit. Eat only fruit at breakfast and if you’re still hungry, wait about two hours until the fruit has left the stomach then follow with a bowl of oatmeal.  Waiting two hours allows your stomach time to rest, even though the fruit digest anywhere from thirty to an hour.

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