Are there foods that should not be mixed with others?

Have you ever taken a plate of lentils and for dessert a yogurt? Well, this combination is not the most successful, since there are certain foods that should not be mixed with others.

This is due to there are foods that may contain antinutrient substances that could act hindering the use of:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Fat
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Foods that should not be mixed with others

Usually, in processed foods, we can know what they have been reading their nutritional composition, but natural foods do not They carry nutritional label. Therefore, here we explain what these substances are that make some foods should not be mixed with others.

What are antinutrients?

Antinutrients they are chemical substances naturally present in food, which interfere or directly inhibit the absorption of certain nutrients. It may be because they bind to them forming complexes that end up being eliminated in the feces or because they inactivate or reduce the activity of digestive enzymes.

These substances They are found primarily in plant-based foods, since they are part of the defense mechanism of plants against insects and other external problems.

What are these antinutrients?

Antinutrients, as we have said, are found mainly in vegetables, nuts, seeds and cereals, although we can also find some in the egg, for example. These are the most common:

Phytic acid

Present in seeds, grains, nuts and legumes. It can affect the absorption of zinc, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus and calcium. It can also inhibit digestive enzymes, necessary to break up starch and protein into smaller fractions.

Oxalic acid

This acid forms non-absorbable complexes with minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc or calcium that are in plant-based foods such as spinach, beets or chard.

We recommend you: Adopt a vegetarian diet without reducing nutrients

Goitrogenic substances

Goitre substances reduce the absorption of iodine from the diet and they are present in cabbages, cauliflowers, turnips, etc., although their activity is reduced with cooking. People with hypothyroidism should take special care, since iodine is part of the structure of the thyroid glands.

Trypsin and lecithin

They are proteins found in legumes, mainly in white beans. They act as protease inhibitors, which implies that the digestion of proteins is carried out more slowly.


They are present in wine and green tea. They have a chelating function, since they bind to certain metals such as iron and zinc, to be later eliminated through urine or feces.

It is also interesting: 6 important benefits you get from consuming green tea

What foods should not be mixed with others?

Once we know what the antinutrients are and what foods are present, we can intuit that there are some foods that should not be mixed. So, We will avoid reducing mineral absorption or slowing digestion.

These are some examples of common combinations:

  • Lentils and, for dessert, yogurt: As we have said, legumes contain phytic acid, which hinders the absorption of calcium from yogurt. A more successful combination would be to have an orange or a kiwi for dessert, since vitamin C helps the absorption of iron present in lentils.
  • A glass of wine with nuts: It is normal that, when you order a glass of wine, as an accompaniment they bring you nuts. However, the tannins present in the wine prevent the absorption of iron and zinc from nuts.
  • Spinach au gratin with cheese: Green leafy vegetables contain oxalates, which are substances that reduce the absorption of calcium present in cheese and dairy products.
  • White beans with meat: If you want to make a white bean stew, the best option is to do it with vegetables, since the trypsin and lecithin present in the beans make the digestion of the meat difficult.

Conclusion: foods that should not be mixed with others

Of course, that there are antinutrients in some foods does not mean that you have to stop using them. These foods, although they have antinutrients, have many more beneficial compounds for health.

Cooking and soaking food are the two basic techniques to inactivate antinutrients, in addition to avoiding certain combinations explained. Keep this in mind especially if you suffer from digestion problems, vitamin or mineral deficits or autoimmune diseases. In these cases, go to a dietitian-nutritionist for advice.