By Dr. Sajimon George BAMS. AAA. ATMS
Ayurveda and Viruddhahara or incompatible food combinations
Viruddhahara means food that is incompatible to body or when two food articles are incompatible between each other. Incompatibility result in toxic nature and is gained by the food through interaction between food items, wrong processing technique, wrong proportion, wrong time, wrong season, wrong place etc. When viruddhahara or incompatible food is taken in small quantities it can’t result in a disease. Toxins generated from regular intake of incompatible food can affect metabolism in the cellular level. Modern scientists have observed that eating carbohydrate food along with proteins can impair digestion and assimilation of both carbohydrates and proteins. It is also proved that food is capable of influencing gene transcription through many metabolic pathways and regulate intercellular signaling .Incompatible food can thus disrupt deeper metabolic pathways resulting in chronic severe diseases. Natural antioxidants present in the food will be lost in presence of such toxins resulting in the non-availability of anti-oxidants for scavenging free radicals produced during normal metabolism. In modern life due to excess travel and busy life schedule, we don’t have any choice but to eat whatever is available. In such a situation eating incompatible foods lead us to non-curable and chronic diseases. Knowledge on unhealthy food combinations will help us to avoid it.
Diseases caused by viruddhahara or incompatible food
- Immunological diseases
- Gastro enteric disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, gastric and peptic ulcer etc
- Skin disorders like vitiligo, eczema, psoriasis
- Psychiatric and psychological diseases
When these disorders explained are reviewed, we can understand that if these toxins are capable of pathogenesis early in Koshta, it results in diseases of stomach and intestine. Examples are grahani (Irritable bowel Syndrome), Soola (Gastric ulcer, abdominal pain) etc. When deeper dhatus are involved it can affect reproductive tissues and result in infertility. When these toxins affect subtle channels of life force, it results in psychological or psychiatric disturbances.
Acharya Charaka enlist eighteen types of unhealthy food combinations
1. Desha Viruddha: Mixing meat or other food materials having origin from areas with different properties.
Eg: Mixing meat procured from hilly region (Jangala desha) and water logged (Anoopa desha) areas.
2. Kaala viruddha: Usage of food that will worsen impact of climate
Eg: Heavy to digest and cold food during rainy season.
3. Agniviruddha: Food incompatible with digestive fire
Eg: Very light food while having very good digestive fire
4. Mathra Viruddha: Food items when used in some proportions become toxic.
Eg: Honey and ghee in equal proportion become toxic.
5. Satmya viruddha: Food items which are not familiar can cause toxic nature.
When a person with a habit of eating non spicy food is given spicy food
6. Dosha Viruddha: Usage of food with similar properties that of body humors Vatha, Pitha or Kapha thus cause vitiation of any one of them.
7. Samskara Viruddha:Food processing technique make food toxic.
Eg: Deep frying of potato, banana will result in production of carcinogens.
8. Veerya viruddha: Using food items with opposite potency.
9. Koshta viruddha: Having food incompatible with nature of Koshta or digestive system.
Eg: Dry and rough food to Krura koshta (Vatha predominant gastric system)
10. Avastha Viruddha: Food incompatible to state of the body
Eg: Spicy and salty food after exposure to sunny day of summer
11. Krama Viruddha: Timing of food breaking normal order.
Eg: Food just before urination or defecation
12. Parihara Viruddha: Taking food with opposite quality followed by some food.
Eg: Drinking cold water after having hot coffee
13. Upachaara viruddha: Usage of a two foods with same quality so that this impair digestion.
Eg: Drinking cold water after having ghee. This impair digestion of ghee
14. Paaka viruddha: Wrong processing turns food in to unhealthy.
Eg: Excess cooking, less cooking, deep frying and using unhealthy fuel for cooking.
15. Samyoga Viruddha: Becoming unhealthy by mixing food items which change each other due to opposite properties.
16: Hridaya viruddha: Caused by eating unpleasant food.
Eg: In some countries people eat spiders,beetles,snakes etc but people of other countries can’t eat such things if they try such food become hridaya viruddha.
17. Sampad viruddha:
Usage of unripe, over ripe, decomposed vegetables fruits etc so that it won’t have expected properties.
18. Vidhi viruddha: Eating food breaking custom such as having food in front of crowd.
Many of the combinations enlisted here can be avoided from the list since these are not taken in modern time. Learned Ayurvedic physician can analyze present day food items of different countries through Ayurvedic logic and suggest people to avoid incompatible food combinations. This enable to cure incompatible food induced diseases and prevent them.
Examples of other incompatible combinations
Aquatic animals like fish eaten with honey, jaggery or milk, sour food with milk, fruits just before or after milk, milk with radish, consuming hot curd are examples.
While mixing together food ingredients or during cooking, the food may become viruddhahara or acquire incompatibility. When viruddhahara reaches stomach and undergoes digestive process, ama or toxic byproducts are generated. Gradually these toxins enter deeper and deeper body tissues and reach every part of the body through subtle channels called srothas. When it reaches structurally impaired spaces, it lodges there and manifest as different diseases. To start treatment, toxins which are now established in distant spaces from stomach should be brought back to alimentary canal. Now through purification procedures like Vamana, Virechana and Vasthi toxins can be eliminated.
Samanoushadha – Alleviating medicines
After purification procedures and achieving digestive power, patient may be given suitable medicines with specific action on the manifested disease and antitoxic in nature.
Lifestyle and food habits
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