Fruit mixed with other foods is one of the more common incompatible food combinations (Viruddha Ahara) prepared on western plates today. Not only has Ayurveda said this for thousands of years, but now modern science and logic also show it.
So how should one eat fruit according to Ayurveda?
Ideally, fruit should be eaten alone (away from other foods). Historically this is what happened. Ancestrally we would come across a fruit tree or a berry bush and go all out on that fruit and that fruit only. That would be our meal before fasting and walking for another 5 hours at least before we came across another gift from nature ready to harvest.
Fruit (fructose) burns quickly, but glucose (grains) burns even quicker.
Take the common granola topped with fruit for example:
When you eat the granola (grains, glucose), it will go into your blood stream quickly. By the time the fruit gets processed by the digestive system, the body would have already met it’s nutritional and energy needs. The fruit will turn into triglycerides, which will be stored as “extra fat” that is worthless and disruptive.
If you eat the fruit alone, those triglycerides go through your lymph and deliver energy to every cell in your body in a harmonious and stable fashion.
That is why fruit comes in summer. After ripping on the vine all year long, it is now ready to be eaten. In abundance and alone.
Add another ingredient like milk or yoghurt into your granola and you got another food type that will digest at a different time.
Mixing different food types together creates confusion to your digestive system and generates indigested food material (ama), that is the cause for most diseases.
Ayurveda says that the synergy of various substances (foods or herbs) may create a final end product with properties that are incompatible to the digestive system, thus a precursor for disease.
The specific properties of a substance include the taste (rasa), energetic/potency effect (heating or cooling) (virya), and the post-digestive effect (vipaka).
Take banana + dairy for example:
A common food combination in the west today (banana smoothie, banana on your yoghurt granola) that Ayurveda quite strongly condemns as an incompatible food combination that can particularly cause digestive and skin diseases.
Banana has a sour vipaka (stimulating action reducing body fluids) while milk has a sweet vipaka (nourishing action increasing body fluids). The different vipakas (post-digestive effects) conflict each other thus create an incompatible food composition that typically deposits as ama in the body and will manifest as disease later. It is the synergy of these various food properties (rasa, virya, vipaka) that will either nourish and provide energy to the body, or create ama.
That all said, please note this is not a massive problem and there are much bigger dietary problems and unwholesome trends today. However, mixing fruit with other foods can cause indigestion, gas, bloating and other issues.
Ways To Eat Fruit
Fruit as a meal itself for breakfast or supper. This is great for those who have little appetite in the morning and for those who want to shift towards eating lighter dinners. It is more so indicated in spring or summer rather than winter when your agni is stronger.
But this is only for you if you are a good digester and have established fat metabolism, ie. have established a calm stable source of fuel (fat), rather then being energy dependant on foods as fuel (sugar).
Add honey onto your fruit. Honey drizzled on grapefruit (include white pith) is a great weight-loss breakfast. Poached apples or pears with sultanas and cinnamon is another good breakfast.
Fruit as afternoon snack is perhaps the best time to eat fruit.
Fruit after your meal if you are still hungry. This is ok but not ideal. Also be cautious when mixing (e.g. if you had milk in your meal best no have fruit).
Don’t mix sour and sweet fruits. It is best to just eat sweet fruits, or just sour or just astringent fruits. This is why generally you eat as much of a single fruit you want (caution diabetics).
Dried fruits are ok to mix with other foods. Dried fruits like sultanas/raisins, figs, dates are sweet so you can have with sweet foods like granola, porridge and hot milk. When you mix sour fruits with sweet substances, especially milk, this is a recipe for incompatibility.
Mango is the only fruit you can mix with dairy. Go all out on the mango milkshakes, mango smoothies and mango lassis. Just ensure it is fresh mango in season.
Did you know how to eat fruits according to Ayurveda? Have you experimented with any of these suggestions? Comment 👇