Compiled by Dr. Kavita Ugale, MD (Ayurveda)
Virudha Ahar :
The concept of Incompatible food in an Ayurved called virudha ahar took a while for me to grasp and follow into my own diet. Incompatible food is everywhere in the restaurant, on cooking shows and even some cookbooks printed with this unhealthy combination which are contraindicated according to an Ayurved.
When two or three different food substances of different taste, energy, and post-digestive effect are combined together for eg. milk with fish, milk with fruits, etc because of this combination agni can become overloaded inhibiting the enzyme system and resulting in the production of toxin in the system. There are many such a combination described in an Ayurveda literature but in this article let us discuss deadliest combination world widely used the milk+fruit or fruit soon after milk and vice versa.
To understand this concept we have to know a few terms and chemistry behind it According to an Ayurved every food has its own taste (rasa), energy (virya), post-digestive effect (vipak), etc this factor undergoes some chemical changes when combined. Generally, the fruits we eat are sour and sweet in taste or sweet. Ripening process makes the fruit more palatable, sweeter, less green, and soften as its ripes but the acidity level of fruit increases as it ripens. The Ripening does not decrease the acidity level and unable to make the fruit sim tartar, which can lead to a misunderstanding that ripens fruit is sweeter.
Fruit contains organic acid such as citric acid in oranges and lemons, malic acid of apple, and tartaric acid of grapes these acids give the fruit tartness and slow down bacterial spoilage. The pH of cow milk ranges from 6.4 to 6.8. Milk is slightly acidic, milk from other bovine and non-bovine mammals varies in composition but has similar pH.
The pH of milk changes over time as milk goes sour, it becomes more acidic and the pH gets lower. Milk contains 80% of casein when pH of milk is below 4.6 a lot of casein will agglutinate and precipitate which will make it difficult to digest and absorb by the body lead to indigestion or diarrhea.
Acidic fruits such as oranges, apples or grapes, banana, etc when combining with milk the acid in those fruits interact with milk and make milk more acidic and precipitation and solidification of casein take place and all this bizarre happens due to interaction with fruit and milk affecting digestion and absorption of milk in the system which diminished Agni, changes the intestinal flora producing toxin if this condition prolonged can lead to toxemia and may cause sinus congestion, cold, cough, allergies, etc and many other disease complexes. To avoid such a bizarre avoid intake of “payasa sah sarva phalam”
Virudhamlam payasa sah sarva phalam tatah..!!
ASHTANG hridya – chp-7/31
Meaning – It is AN incompatible combination of sour with milk and all other fruits.
Ayurvedic perspective is that each food has a distinct combination of tastes and energies and a corresponding effect on both the digestive system and on the body as a whole this is why proper food combining is so important.