Ayurveda and Incompatible Foods

Incompatible foods wreak havoc on our mind-body eventually. Ever drink banana milkshake and feel congested or stuffy? Milk which contains lactogen and certain fruits, such as bananas, which also contain common allergen may aggravate an asthmatic attack. Did your grandma remind you to not mix dairy and fish together? Milk is cold and fish has a heating property. Combining the two vitiates the blood and causes obstruction of the body’s channels (called srotas). Did your mom scream at you when you drank cold water right after drinking hot coffee? Bean chili topped with cheese … has it ever given you indigestion?

Importance of Diet in Ayurveda

Diet or ahara is one of the pillars of health in Ayurveda. Viruddha Ahara or incompatible foods is a unique concept described in this ancient healing science. It can lead to inflammation at a molecular level. Ayurveda says that certain poor food combinations can lead to the production of ama, which is toxins and can eventually lead to disease. According to Ayurveda, there are three main causes of disease.

The Harmful Effects of Incompatible Foods!

According to Ayurveda, every food has its own taste, energetics, post-digestive effect, characteristics, and effect on the digestive system. What happens when food with different energies is combined? Think mango with yogurt for mango lassi. It can overload the agni (digestive fire).

In Ayurveda, the process of digestion, absorption, assimilation, and elimination revolves around agni. It converts food into energy, which nourishes the dhatus and supports the functions of the body. According to Acharya Charaka, if agni is disturbed, it can lead to indigestion, bloating, fermentation, production of ama, and much more. Think ailments like inflammation, skin disorders, autoimmune diseases. According to Ayurveda, the relationship between agni and ama is the foundation of our digestive health. Ayurveda also reminds us that diseases don’t develop overnight.

Who Should Eliminate Incompatible Foods from Their Diet?

For those who are sick or weak, it’s particularly important to honor the appropriate food combinations. For those with gut disorders, following proper food combinations is pivotal to their digestive health. You can argue that you grew up eating fish cooked in cream or beans and cheese. Divya Alter writes, “Our bodies carry an intelligence that allows them to adjust and adapt in the face of challenging situations. If you repeatedly consume contradictory foods that do not cause an immediate reaction, your body will find ways to accept such a diet. However, it does come at a price. You may not experience discomfort right away but, in due course, depending on your body’s weak points, eating mutually contradictory foods may result in deep imbalance. People in every culture mix incompatible foods, but we also see prominent diseases in every culture.”

Which Food Combinations are Bad and Should be Avoided? 

Ayurveda suggests a long list of incompatible foods and wrong food combinations. Here are a few according to the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India:

  1. Milk is not compatible with fruits, melons, sour fruits, and bananas. It should not be consumed with salty items such as samosa/paratha/khichadi. Don’t boil it with tea.
  2. Grains should not be consumed with Tapioca and Fruits.
  3. One should not consume fruits and milk with vegetables.
  4. Beans are the wrong combination with eggs, milk, fish, fruits, yogurt, and meat.
  5. Yogurt is to be avoided with cheese, hot drinks, sour fruits, milk, mangoes, nightshades, beans, eggs, fish.
  6. Fat and proteins are mismatched foods as they need different digestive juices.
  7. Cheese shouldn’t be paired with eggs, fruits, hot drinks, milk, beans, yogurt.
  8. Proteins are not compatible with starches and their collective consumption may result in delayed digestion.
  9. Nightshades (tomato, potato, etc.) are not compatible with fruits like cucumber, melon, and dairy products.
  10. Milk, yogurt, tomatoes, and cucumber are incompatible with lemons.

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Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and ayurvedic practitioner, contact me here.