Do you want healthy digestion? Focus on good food combinations

 A Healthy diet and Exercise can deliver you great health

Some steamed veggies

Some steamed veggies

Today there are many new diet and exercise tips but good nutrition tips have been around for many years. Author  Dr.Howard Hay developed The Hay Diet in 1939 and his theories are still very sound advice today.

The theory is on the importance of food combinations for healthy digestion.

Dr. Hay pointed out that a combination of high-protein and high-starch foods has appalling effects on the digestive system. Dr. Hay himself was troubled by painful digestion for many years related to chronic inflammation of his kidneys, high blood pressure and a badly dilated heart. When  he changed his eating habits, his symptoms disappeared.

Here is Dr. Hay’s General Theory on Food: The Hay Diet

1. Carbohydrates should never be eaten in combination with proteins and acidic foods

2. Vegetables, salads and fruits should make up the bulk of the diet

3. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats should be eaten only in small amounts. Only wholegrain, unrefined carbohydrates should be used.

4.Refined and processed foods should be avoided

5.There should be an interval of at least 4 hours between meals of different types of foods

6. One meal a day should be based on starchy foods, another on protein foods and the third should be alkaline foods. ( Some alkaline foods have a neutral pH such as tap water, most spring water. A pH of 8 foods- apples almonds, grapefruit, corn, mushrooms, turnip, soy, bell pepper, radish, pineapple, cherries, wild rice, apricot, strawberries, bananas. pH 9- avocado, green tea, lettuce, celery, peas, sweet potatoes, eggplant, green beans, beets, blueberries, pears, grapes, Kiwi, tangerines, figs, dates, mangoes, papaya pH 10- spinach, broccoli, artichoke, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, lemon, limes, seaweed, asparagus, radish, collard greens, onions.)

ACIDIC FOODS THAT CAUSE DIGESTIVE ISSUES– carbonated water, club soda, energy drinks- pH3

pH 4 Popcorn, cream cheese, buttermilk, prunes, pastries, cheese, pork, beer, wine, black tea, pickles, chocolate, roasted nuts, vinegar, sweet and low, equal, nutra sweet.

pH 5 Purified water, distilled water, coffee, sweetened fruit juice, pistachios, beef, white bread, peanuts, nuts, wheat

pH 6- Most grains, eggs, fish, tea, cooked bens, cooked spinach, soy milk, coconut, lima beans, plums, brown rice, barley, cocoa, oats, liver, oyster, salmon.

What is really causing your indigestion or bloating?

Indigestion is caused by too much acid in the stomach. What to avoid: Alcohol, strong tea, coffee, fizzy drinks. meat extracts, acidic foods such as pickles and vinegar, hot spicy foods, unripe fruit, cheese.

Discomfort or bloating?

Other common triggers of digestive issues are stress, eating too fast/hurried, insufficient chewing, long gaps between meals which leads to binge eating; swallowing air, and bloating. Tobacco use also triggers gastric acid secretion.

The basic principles of the Hay Diet:

1. Understand that starch begins to ferment in the stomach as soon as the salivary enzyme ptyalin is destroyed by gastric juices.

2. Healthy foods in the right combinations can greatly improve digestion

3. All foods comprises of one of the 5 nutrients and it is vital to identify the dominant nutrient in a meal, and proportion accordingly:


Starches– bread, pasta rice

Proteins- meat, fish, eggs cheese, soy

Sugars- firm fruit  such as fresh banana, honey, sweet preserves

Acids- soft fruits such as peaches, plums

Fats– oil, mayonnaise, egg yolk

Carbohydrates fall into 2 groups- the sugars and starches.

Example: Remember that proteins, carbs and fats should be eaten in small amounts. Veggies, salads and fruits make up the bulk of your diet with 4 hours between meals.


Oatmeal with almond milk ( carbs)

Sliced banana and pineapple

Lunch ( based on protein)

Soy burger ( 9 grams protein), slice wholegrain bread, lettuce salad  with raw veggies such as cucumbers. carrots

Dinner (alkaline food focused)

Veggie mix of broccoli, red bell peppers,  and 1/2 cup brown rice (limited portion of rice- a healthy carb). Fruit cup of mangoes and papaya( a bit acidic due to their soft nature.)

Snack- apple- hard fruit the best for low acidity


Do not forget about exercise in your healthy living plan. Exercise such as a fast walk in the morning helps the digestion of foods in the body.

Tips on some food combos and indigestion from the book by: Dries, J. & Dries, I (2002) The Food Combining Bible. Hammersmith, London. Harper-Collins.