Concepts on digestive times of foods and Food Combining

By Debra Hearn

A balanced digestive times diet is designed to help a condition of poor digestive breakdown and assimilation of foods. To assist foods to complete their functions within their proper digestive sequence, without other food groups hampering assimilation of nutrients or pushing the food too quickly through the digestive tract.

Important factors:

·         Avoid coffee and chocolate – they stop gastric secretions.

·         Tea should be taken before a meal, not with or after eating. When taken before eating it stimulates the digestive processes. Alcohol is best taken before a meal, or at 1-hour intervals during a long meal or evening meal.

Excess alcohol reduces absorption of most vitamins and minerals.

Goal –    to rest the digestive tract including   stomach, small intestines, large intestines, also the pancreas, liver and gallbladder.

Thus allowing time for these organs to rest balancing energy to and in the organs allowing repair to begin. After a period of four to six weeks the diet will be changed according to the individual needs and conditions of the person.

Rules for a balanced digestive time diet

·         Make meals from foods contained within the same digestive time groups.

·         Do not mix or match foods from other digestive times groups.

·         If it takes 2-2 ½ hours for food to digest, leave at least that amount of time (even a little longer if possible) before eating another meal, so eat as much as you     need to satisfy your appetite in each sitting

·         Watch food combinations carefully

On the following pages, I have attempted to list the foods in their digestive time groups.

Concepts on digestive times

1 –           1 ½ hours group

Agar gelatine                          avocado                                coconut milk

grapefruit juice                     Grapes                   lemon

Mango                                   olives ripe              orange juice

Parsley                                   raspberry               sugar/honey

Watermelon (most melon has a rapid digestive time

2 –           2 ½ hours group

Almonds                                apples                    apricot

Artichoke                              asparagus              basil

Beet greens                           beet root                                blackberry

Black currant                       brown rice             cream

Cabbage raw                        cauliflower            carrot

Chives                                    cherry ripe             coconut

Coriander                              caraway seed       dates

Dandelion greens                 egg yolk raw         figs

Fennel                                    grapefruit              garlic

Leek                                       lima beans            lettuce

Lemon balm                         milk                        mushroom

Mango                                   Nectarines             orange

Passionfruit                           potato                    Paw paw

Pears                                      Plumbs                   peaches

Pineapple                              pecan nuts            raisins

Strawberry                            seeds                      squash

Turkey                                   tomato                   yogurt zucchini


3 –           3 ½ hour digestive time group

Alfalfa                                   beet root                                banana

Butter                                     Brazil nuts             barley

Beef fillet                              broccoli                  beans green

beans dried                           cabbage                                 celery

cucumber                              cheese                   cottage cheese

coconut dry                          capsicum               cayenne

Cashews                                                corn                        chicken

Eggs cooked                         eggplant                 endive

Egg noodles                          fig                           guava

Hazelnuts                              kohlrabi                limes

Liver                                       lentils                      mint

Millet                                      onions                    olives marinated

Oats cooked                         olive oil                  oysters

Peas                                        parsnip                   pumpkin

Persimmons                          pomegranate        prunes

Quince                                   radish                     rock melon

Rosemary                             rye bread               spinach

Sweet potato                        sage                        Sprouted seeds

soy beans                              spaghetti                sesame oil

sardines                                 small fish               thyme

Watercress                            walnuts                  wheat


4 hours and over

Beef                                                       brussels sprouts

Cream cheese                                       chicken roast (12 hours)

Horseradish                                          lamb

Large fish                                              mutton

Pork (12 – 16 hours)                            salmon

Turnips                                                  veal


As I general guide you may notice that:

·         Juicy fruits seem to digest very quickly so are excellent for breakfast.

·         The density & the higher the fibre content of the fruit or vegetable the longer the digestion time.

·         Fish is generally quicker to digest than meat

·         White meat is generally quicker to digest than red meat

·         Juices are a quick digestive process due to the extraction of fibrous content of the vegetable or fruit.