Did you know you should never eat iron-rich foods with milk? Read here to know what is food incompatibility and how it affects your body.
You must avoid eating curd with milk
- Do not eat anything with melons
- Avoid eating iron-rich foods with calcium-rich foods
- Do not eat cruciferous veggies with iodine-rich foods
Did you know that combining some foods together can be detrimental to the nutrition they provide? Well, this concept dates way back and has been featured in ancient scriptures of Ayurveda and is termed as the concept of "viruddh aahaar" which simply means incompatible foods. It refers to the food-food interaction and their hazardous effect on health, when taken together. The word viruddha literally means "opposite". The same concept exists in modern science as well where one or two nutrients in a particular food can block the absorption of nutrients from another food when taken together. This concept is called anti-nutrition.
List of antagonistic / incompatible food combinations: Foods you should never eat together
1. Tea with Iron rich foods
Some compounds found in tea called tannins and oxalates can inhibit the absorption of iron especially the plant based iron. These compounds can bind with iron and prevent its absorption inside the body. Black tea contains the highest amount of tannins but it is also found in green tea, white tea, and oolong tea. So, avoid eating plant-based iron rich foods like- nuts, green leafy veggies, whole grains, and beans with tea. Avoid consuming tea on an empty stomach too.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables with iodine rich foods
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage contain a compound called glucosinolate that can prevent the absorption of iodine which can further interfere with the functioning of thyroid gland leading to hypothyroidism or goitre in severe cases. If you suffer from any kind of thyroid related issues, limit the consumption of cruciferous vegetables. Also, don't combine them with iodine rich food sources like fish, dairy products, and fortified salt.
3. Un-soaked Nuts with Calcium rich foods
Most of the nuts contain a compound in the outer surface called phytic acid that is considered an anti-nutrient and can diminish the absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc from the diet. Almonds contain phytic acid in highest quantity. It is also found in peanuts, soybeans, lentils, peas, walnuts, beans, and Brazil nuts. Eating phytic acid rich foods with meals can lead to mineral deficiency overtime. Overnight soaking or sprouting can effectively diminish phytic acid content and enhance mineral absorption.
4. Milk and yogurt
Although both milk and yogurt are derived from same source but combining milk and yogurt can cause gastric irritation or indigestibility in some people. The reason behind this is precipitation of milk when consumed with yogurt. It is a combination that should be best avoided.
5. Milk and iron rich foods
Never consume iron-rich foods or iron supplements with calcium-rich sources like dairy. Calcium can reduce the intestinal absorption of iron, so it is a good idea to consume calcium and iron rich foods at different times.
6. Melons with anything else
Melons are one of the fruits that are better digested when eaten alone and not with any other foods. Because of high water content in melons, they are relatively digested quickly and if combined with any food/ meal -it can lead to digestive issues or partial digestion. This particular food incompatibility is as per Ayurveda texts.
How food incompatibility can affect your body
- Disturbance of doshas (vata, pitta, kapha)
- Indigestion or bloating
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Skin related disorders like allergies and rashes
- Nutrient deficiencie
There is another viruddha aahaar concept called "hrut vriddhha" which means if a food is not pleasing to the consumer, it may not exhibit 100% of its nutritional value. So, make sure you always enjoy your food experimenting with the taste as per your liking and always eat with least possible distraction.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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