Viruddha Ahara(Incompatible Food) : A critical view, Ayurveda

Viruddha Ahara(Incompatible Food)
Viruddha Ahara(Incompatible Food) 
Viruddha Ahara is a unique concept described in Ayurveda. The present article deals with the critical review of Viruddha Ahara referred in terms of food–food interactions, food processing interactions. Ayurveda clearly defines that certain diet and its combinations, which interrupts the metabolism of tissue, which inhibits the process of formation of tissue and which have the opposite property to the tissue are called as Viruddha Anna or incompatible diet. The food which is wrong in combination, which has undergone wrong processing, which is consumed in incorrect dose, which is consumed in incorrect time of day and in wrong season can lead to Viruddha Ahara. The article narrates the modern perspective of incompatible dietary consumed in today's day-to-day life and its hazardous effects on health.

Ayurveda literature has described various types of Viruddha Ahara, which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Desha (place) Viruddha
  2. Kala Viruddha
  3. Agni Viruddha
  4. Matra (quantity) Viruddha
  5. Satmya (wholesome) Viruddha
  6. Dosha Viruddha
  7. Sanskar (mode of preparation) Viruddha
  8. Veerya (potency) Viruddha
  9. Koshtha Viruddha
  10. Avastha (state of health) Viruddha
  11. Kram (sequence) Viruddha
  12. Parihar Viruddha
  13. Upachar (treatment) Viruddha
  14. Paak (cooking) Viruddha
  15. Samyoga (combination) Viruddha
  16. Hriday Viruddha
  17. Sampad (richness of quality) Viruddha
  18. Vidhi (rules for eating) Viruddha
Examples of incompatibility/antagonistic (Viruddha-Aahara)
  1. Veerya Viruddha (potency incompatibility) — fish + milk.
  2. Sanskar Viruddha (processing incompatibility) — heated honey.
  3. Matra Viruddha (dose incompatibility) — honey + cow's ghee mixed in equal proportion.
  4. Krama Viruddha — hot water after taking honey.
  5. Kala Viruddha — (time incompatibility) pungent substance in summer and cold substances in winter.
  6. Krama Viruddha (order incompatibility) — consuming curd at night. Taking Madhura Rasa food or Dravya at the end of meals and Tikta and Katu Rasa Dravyas (food substances) at the starting of meals.
  7. Samyoga Viruddha (combination incompatibility) — fruit salad or milk + banana.
  8. Parihar Viruddha (contraindication incompatibility) — consuming cold water immediately after having hot tea or coffee.

Modern Perspective of Incompatible Diet

Viruddha Ahara can lead to inflammation at a molecular level. Number of food incompatibilities are mentioned in old Ayurved literature, such as Charaka and Sushruta Samhitas. These type of food combinations are not in use in today's era. We have to identify new food incompatibilities, which are used today in day-to-day life as per Ayurvedic perspective. Diet is considered to be vital for a human body as it provides the basic nutrients, which are necessary to carry out the basic activities of digestion and metabolism.

The unwanted side effects can emerge inside the body when two or more types of foods are consumed together. Such reactions can be less important but on long term, it can be fatal upon precipitating serious side effects.

Green tea or black tea and milk

Tea contains flavonoids called catechins, which have many beneficial effects on the heart. When milk is added to tea, then a group of proteins in milk, called caseins, interact with the tea to reduce the concentration of catechins. So avoid tea and milk together.

Milk and yoghurt interaction

As you know consuming both together can precipitate milk inside the stomach that may irritate and induce vomiting. So avoid milk and yoghurt together.

Tea and garlic

Tea contains anticoagulant compounds called coumarins. When combined with garlic (that also has anticlotting properties), they may increase the risk of bleeding. So, better to avoid tea and garlic together.

Pomegranate juice and grapefruit juice

Pomegranate juice and grapefruit juice, are both known to block the cytochrome P450 3A4 enzyme systems in the intestines and increase blood levels of many medications you are taking. Taking these two juices together may synergize the above action.

Unripe (green) tomatoes or potatoes and alcohol

The unripe green tomatoes contain huge amount of solanine, which may interact with alcohol. You may feel more sedation if the intake is more.

Sanskara Viruddha

Deep frying of potatoes can develop toxic substances, such as acrylamide, which can prove to be carcinogenic.

Eating potato chips regularly is Sanskara viruddha. It is also mentioned in Ayurved text that heating honey is Sanskar Viruddha. Honey that is available in the market is Agmark honey and this honey is strongly heated before packaging. It is very important to find the relevance about why we must not heat honey.

It has been clearly mentioned in Ayurveda text that oil and food must not be reheated. Reheating of oil creates more oxidation and if consumed may create more oxidative stress creating more free radicals.
High-temperature cooking must also be called as Sanskara Viruddha. Foods typically cooked at high temperatures, like meats, may contribute to the risk and exacerbation of chronic diseases linked with inflammation.

Milk which contains lactogen and certain fruits, such as bananas, which also contain common allergen may aggravate an asthmatic attack. Milk with eggs, reheated cow's milk, consuming too much sugar along with saturated fats, can lead to number of immunologic disorders. It has been regularly observed in the clinics that rheumatoid arthritis patients who consume curds at night, sour food at night complain of more morning stiffness.

Fast food is high in energy density and low in essential micronutrient density, especially zinc (Zn), of which antioxidant processes are dependent. It has been tested that frequent fast food consumption could induce oxidative damage associated with inflammation and Zn deprivation.

Apart from all biochemical effect of Viruddha Ahara, food substance which is not liked by the person leads to Viruddha Ahara. This may lead to continual maldigestion too.

Charaka has also mentioned that those people who are able to digest Viruddha Ahara properly, who exercise very regularly, who are young and have a very good status of Agni can consume Viruddha Ahara.

From the above discussion, it is clear that Viruddha Ahara is an important aspect of today's improper dietary habits. This can lead to several hazardous diseases unknowingly to the patients. Therefore, it is important to take care of the incompatible dietary factors.

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