How wrong food combinations affect your health

 Food isn’t harmless. Much as healthy eating is critical to good healthy, what you eat and drink can affect their effectiveness in meeting the nutritional needs for good health.
Wrong food combinations can prevent the nutrients in them getting absorbed by the body for strengthen bone, blood production or even exacerbate side effects of drugs.

There are food combinations that can cause health risks in us. Some of the immediate consequences of bad food combinations are digestive unease, gas, bloating, stomach ache, nausea, fatigue, and problems with elimination.

While short-term effects can clear up within a day or two, long-term food combining can lead to more severe problems like bad breath, dry skin, rashes, bone soften, poor sleep, low energy, and chronic digestion issues.

“Many people take food items like Ugwu leave extract and milk to correct low blood volume, but the combination is wrong,” said Mrs Motunrayo Anifowose, a dietician at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State.

According to Anifowose, “Ugwu leave contains an abundance of iron. Unfortunately, calcium and iron does not work. The availability of the iron content of the Ugwu leave extract is limited by the calcium content of the milk.

“No doubt, taking Ugwu leave extract with milk would boost the blood level but it would not be as beneficial as when the Ugwu leave extract was combined with a vitamin C containing food item, say fresh orange juice.

“Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron. Unfortunately, people have the mindset that taking a combination of Ugwu leaves extract and milk is the best.”

No doubt, taking milk is beneficial to the body, but its combination with other things would limit its health benefits to the body. Adding milk to tea, Dr Oyediran Oyewole, a public health nutritionist at the Faculty of Public health, University of Ibadan, Oyo State said could make it lose its beneficial effects.

Tea is found to improve immune system, to control blood sugar levels, reduce damage to cells and prevent cardiovascular diseases.

While many people drink tea and coffee because it is pleasant, soothing drink,when milk is added to tea, Dr Oyewole said the caseins, proteins found in milk, form complexes with catechins in tea, it’s most important flavonoids.

In a small study conducted on 16 healthy women, scientists compared the effects of tea on their vascular system, with tea, water and tea with milk. They found that tea relaxes blood vessels, but tea with milk does not.

Dr Oyewole remarking that many people lack understanding of what it means to eat wisely, said combining iron contain food items also with tea was a wrong combination.

“All teas contain anti-nutrients such as tannins and other phytochemicals that the body actually require. But when tea is combined with food items that contain iron, these anti nutrients bind with the iron and make it unabsorbed by the body for building blood level.”

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from haemoglobin. It is found in animal foods that originally contained haemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry. The body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Nonheme iron is from plant sources.

Iron in plant foods such as lentils, beans, locust beans, and spinach is nonheme iron. This is the form of iron added to iron-enriched and iron-fortified foods. Our bodies are less efficient at absorbing nonheme iron, but most dietary iron is nonheme iron.

Dr Oyewole, however said that for better absorption of nonheme iron from food into the body system, it was better taken along with vitamin C contain food items such as oranges and banana.

“If you take beans and you want its iron content to be absorbed into your body system in its normal form, it needs to be combined with an oranges or other vitamin C contain food substances.

“It is the same thing with combining Ugwu leave extract with Vitamin C containing food items. Its nonheme iron is converted to the heme iron that is easily absorbed by the body.”

Moreover, he said that in converting the nonheme iron present in beans and leafy green vegetables to the form the body can easily make use of it, they are better cooked with a piece of meat or cat fish to lock out the nonheme iron.

Ironically, Dr Oyewole said coffee is better served with milk “Coffee makes you urinate more. The more you urinate, the more the loss of calcium. For women in the reproductive age group, it can be a major issue because of osteoporosis, a condition where the bone softens, due to leaching of Calcium.

“That is one reason why bone fracture among post menopausal women, who take lots of coffee or coffee containing compounds, is usually high. So adding milk can actually supply some of the lost calcium.”

 To eat healthy, he said at every meal, live foods should always be combined with dead foods. Any food that has undergone any form of processing is a dead food. Foods that are eaten in their natural state such as oranges and banana are life foods.

According to him “one of the indicators of healthy eating is defecating at least once in 24 hours. Unhealthy eating is of public health issue and people need to prioritise eating living foods.”



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