In the age of fusion cuisine, we end up combining several types of food in the spirit of experiment. While some of these combinations are easy to digest, some are actually a digestive disaster, even though each item in them may be nutritious and healthful. Wrong food combination is one of the primary factors causing gas, flatulence, heartburn, and upset stomach.
According to Ayurveda, every food has its own taste (rasa), a heating or cooling energy (virya) and a post-digestion effect (vipaka). Any food consumed that affects the balance of the three doshas is termed as viruddha aharam (antagonistic or incompatible food). An individual’s agni (digestive fire) largely determines how well or poorly food gets digested. According to Charaka Samhita, antagonistic substances behave contrary to deha-dhatus (body tissues). This antagonism may be due to the properties of substances themselves, combination, processing, place, time, dose, or natural composition.
Bad food combinations can cause reactions and should be avoided. For example, according to Ayurveda, fish with milk is not recommended because milk has shita (cold) virya (energy) and fish has usna (hot) virya. The result is viruddhavirya (antagonistic in terms of virya); it vitiates the blood and creates obstruction in channels.
Let us have a look at the various bad food combinations that are best avoided.
1. Different Kinds Of Proteins
Two proteins of different characters and different compositions call for different digestive secretions and different timings of secretions in order to digest them efficiently. For example, cheese and meat omelet is a big no. Instead, choose veggie omelet, as one protein per meal is easier to digest.
2. Milk With Any Other Food
Milk should be taken alone. Milk is a complete and concentrated food in itself. It requires a full digestive process of its own kind. No other concentrated food like meat, eggs, cereals, pulses, nuts, roots, or fruits should be eaten with it. The combination of milk with other foods is one of the major causes of indigestion.
- Avoid consuming milk after eating radish, garlic, and tulasi or holy basil.
- Avoid milk combined with any sour substance, especially fruits.
3. Tea, Coffee, Alcohol, And Soft Drinks With Solid Foods
These beverages severely restrict proper gastric secretions and hinder normal digestion. Avoid tea or coffee with breakfast or any solid meal. Any liquid in your stomach dilutes the enzymes your body needs to digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
4. Cold Water With Cooked Food
Freshly cooked food (warm food) is easily digested by the body. Cold water inhibits agni (digestive fire) and leads to inefficient, incomplete digestion; at the least, the body has to work much harder to digest the food.
5. Fruits With Any Other Food
Whole fruits (with fiber) quickly move to the intestine where they are digested and absorbed fully. Fruits mixed with other food creates a sour “wine” in the stomach which hinders digestion.
6. Fresh Food With Stored, Refrigerated, Or Reheated Food
Cooked food undergoes changes over time, even if it is stored in a cool environment. Reheating further changes its characteristics. Combining food at different stages of cooking makes it difficult for the body to digest.
7. Meat With Jaggery Or Honey
Avoid taking meat with honey, jaggery, radish, lotus stalk, milk, black gram, and germinated grains.