Everyone tells you to eat healthy. With so much junk food around, one of the easiest replacements is fruits. When trying to eat healthy, fruits are a delicious and convenient alternative to other kinds of unhealthy snacking options.
Lately though, a conversation has emerged that puts restrictions on the hows and whys of consuming them. While earlier in a piece that we did in consultation with nutritionists, the consensus gave fruits an all-clear in terms of their consumption, an exploration of Ayurvedic advice ended up being in disagreement with most of those conclusions. So, we reached out to an Ayurveda doctor to explain to us our body’s relationships with fruits.
Combining Fruits and Meals
Speaking with FIT, Dr Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda, asserts unequivocally that fruits immediately after a meal is just “wrong”. The reason for this is a disruption in digestion of the ingested food items.
"It takes an hour to 90 minutes to digest a cooked meal. Fresh fruits, on the other hand, are sugary and sweet and very easily digested in the acidic environment of the stomach. If you eat fruits first and then eat your meal after a small gap, that’s alright because the former would be digested by then. However, if you reverse the order, it would lead to fermentation in the stomach." - Dr Partap Chauhan
Consequences of this could be several - from bloating and gas to indigestion and even weight gain. This could have more long-term consequences like skin diseases and chronic disorders, adds the doctor explaining it further.
"This combination is an example of virudh ahaar (incompatible foods). There are 18 types of food incompatibilities which include cooked (meals) and uncooked (fruits) food items, among others." - Dr Partap Chauhan
The only raw food that can be consumed with cooked food is that which is grown underground.
Fruits and Milk
When we talk of milk and fruits, again the combination is a big no-no, says the doctor.
"No fruit should be mixed with milk unless they’re completely sweet. Some fruits are astringent, like pomegranates, while others are sweet, like berries. Only the latter should be combined with milk, after they have ripened entirely on the tree. The vidhi (process) of milk is different from fruits." - Dr Partap Chauhan
The best time to have milk is at night while the best time to have fruits is during the day. This is precisely why banana shakes should be avoided, along with mango shakes unless the mango has ripened completely on the tree before being plucked and has not been ripened chemically or with adulteration. However, the doctor adds, since this is near impossible to confirm, it’s always advisable to steer clear of them.
Fruits and Vegetables
When it comes to mixing fruits and vegetables, Dr Chauhan, reinforces the point about mixing cooked and uncooked food items. Vegetables are almost never eaten raw and it’s the opposite for fruits. Consequently, the two should not be mixed.
"Since both vegetables and fruits have different origins and manners of consumption, they’re advised against from being combined. Now, there are some exceptions to this which include tomatoes and avocados, but as a thumb rule, Ayurveda advises against mixing the two." - Dr Partap Chauhan
The doctor calls the combination of the two a “slow poison” resulting in various health problems over a period of time. The gap between the two should be about two hours so that there’s enough time for the stomach to empty itself.
Raw Food Items and Individual Body Types According to Ayurveda
Other than the whole idea of not mixing cooked and uncooked food items, there is also the concern of several body types not being too compatible with raw food items. Dr Partap mentions the vata (one of the three doshas of the body according to Ayurveda) prakriti in this context which is marked by the presence of air inside the body. It’s more commonly found in lean bodies.
"Raw food can increase dryness easily in people who already have a low weight. While raw food is a good idea, it cannot become regular food over a long period of time, even for people who are not of the vata prakriti." - Dr Partap Chauhan
Having said that, the doctor also adds that there is no general advice in Ayurveda that can be given to all. Every individual is different and is assessed against twelve parameters according to Ayurveda. Thus sensitivities specific to a particular person have a huge role to play.
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