The Concept of Virudhaahara in Ayurveda (Incompatible food)

Did you ever think that banana with milk was incompatible?

Ayurveda is an ancient science which focuses not only on treating a condition but also on improving the overall health of the person. This practice of holistic healing also focuses on the kind of diet one has to adopt for good health and longevity.

Virudhaahara in Ayurveda refers to incompatible food or unbalancing food. Virudhaahara indicates a combination of 2 substances which are not compatible with each other, or not having affinity for each other. On combining 2 or 3 things, the stronger one overpowers the weaker one.

Viruddhaahara Affects Agni (Digestive Fire)

  • Improper food combinations lead to weak digestive fire (mandagni).
  • The digestive fire (Agni) becomes overloaded, when food which is of opposite qualities are consumed together, inhibiting the enzymes and thus resulting in the production of aama (toxins).

The effect of viruddhaahara becomes minimal if the individual is young, has a strong digestive fire and has a habit of regular exercise.

Types of Virudhaahara

  1. Desha viruddha (against place): To have dry and sharp substances in dry region, unctuous substances in marshy land.
  2. Kala viruddha (against time/season): Intake of cold and dry substances in winter, pungent and hot substances in summer.

Example: Consuming curd at night.

  1. Agni viruddha (against digestive fire): Intake of heavy food, when there is mandagni (low digestive fire) and intake of light food when there is teekshnaagni (sharp digestive fire).
  2. Matra viruddha (against quantity): Intake of honey and ghee in equal quantity.

Example: honey + ghee in equal quantity/proportion.

  1. Satmya viruddha: (wholesome): Intake of sweet and cold substances by a person accustomed to pungent and hot substances.
  2. Dosha viruddha: Utilization of drugs, diet and regimen having similar qualities with dosha, but at variance with the habit of the individual.
  3. Sanskar viruddha (against mode of preparation): Medicines and diet which when prepared in a particular way produces poisonous effects.
  4. Veerya viruddha (against potency): Substances having cold potency in combination with those of hot potency.

Example: fish + honey

  1. Kosta viruddha: To give less quantity with less potency and less stool forming food to a person of costive bowel and vice versa.
  2. Avastha viruddha (against state of health): Intake of vata aggravating food, by a person after sexual act, physical exertion or intake of kapha aggravating food, by a person after sleep.
  3. Krama viruddha (against sequence): consumption of food after suppressing the urge of vomiting, defecation or when he does not have appetite.
  4. Parihar viruddha (against caution): Intake of hot substances after taking pork etc. Consuming cold water immediately after hot tea or coffee.
  5. Upachaar viruddha (against treatment): Intake of cold substances after taking ghee.
  6. Paaka viruddha (against cooking): Preparation of food with bad/rotten fuel and under cooking or burning during the process of preparation.
  7. Samyog viruddha (against combination): Intake of sour substances with milk.

Example: fruit salad/milk + banana

  1. Hridya viruddha (against interest): Intake of unpleasant food.
  2. Sampad viruddha: Intake of substances those are not mature, over matured or purified.
  3. Vidhi viruddha (against rules of eating): Eating in public places.

Conditions Caused due to Viruddhaahara

  • Visarpa(herpes)
  • Blindness
  • Insanity
  • Intoxication
  • Fistula
  • Ascites
  • Varieties of anaemia
  • Indigestion
  • Gastritis
  • Various skin diseases
  • Oedema
  • Infertility

Some Common Examples of Viruddhahara

  1. Curds should not be consumed in hot season, in hot form without sugar, honey, ghee or amla.
  2. Curds should not be taken at night. Do not consume hot water, after taking curd.
  3. Banana should not be eaten with milk, curds, buttermilk because it can diminish the digestive fire and can produce toxins (aama).
  4. Fish/chicken should not be combined with milk, sesame and sprouted grains.
  5. Avoid cool drinks during or directly after a meal, as it diminishes the agni.
  6. Never cook honey or heat it, as after cooking, it becomes non-homogenized glue form that clogs the internal channels and produce toxins (aama).
  7. Never drink milk, when the body heat is high.
  8. Do not consume cold water after consuming ghee.
  9. Fruits, pumpkin, legumes, meat along with egg are incompatible.
  10.  Butter along with green leafy vegetables.
  11.  Jaggery, kishmish along with tapioca is incompatible.
  12.  Mango, alcohol, curd and honey along with hot beverages and juices.
  13.  Meat of aquatic animals with milk, urad dal, sesame, sprouted legumes is incompatible.

Let us know your views on Viruddhaahara!

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