Ayurveda: 3 food combinations that could be affecting your digestive health

Did you realize that it’s not just the food you eat but the combination of food in meals that causes discomfort and a difficult digestion after eating?

So, what are the side effects of improper food combinations? If you’re experiencing bloating, gas, indigestion after eating this could be linked to food combinations that are difficult for your body to digest together.

Why do food combinations matter? Combining foods with different energetics can overwhelm the digestive system and dull your digestive fire (Agni) which is linked to your entire wellbeing.  Ayurveda’s definition of health takes a holistic view where all aspects of our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing are linked. A balanced Agni (digestive fire) is part of a healthy person. If the mind, senses and soul are happy, we will be less likely to make choices that lead toward ill-health.

As well as feeling the side effects of poor digestion, incompatible food combinations can lead to the body generating toxins and undigested food (Ama) which builds in the body. Being aware of food combinations can significantly improve your digestive health, giving you more energy so you can enjoy food and feel great after eating.

Surprisingly it’s common to eat some of these food combinations in Western diet and modern cuisines and they are considered normal foods to eat together.

If this concept is completely new to you, start by just noticing how you feel after eating these food combinations. There are quite a few food combinations to take into account in Ayurveda but I’m going to outline 3 common ones which apply regardless of your dosha.

3 incompatible food combinations:

1.      Beans with cheese – try eating beans with grains, vegetables, and other beans

Beans and cheese are similar in that both tend to be heavy and difficult to digest. To break them down properly they both demand digestive strength. Eating them together results in poor digestion and the accumulation of Ama (toxins).

Other foods to avoid eating with beans: eggs / meat / fish

2.      Fruits with any other food – try eating fruits alone

Fruits are acidic and digest quickly. When fruits are eaten with foods, there is a discrepancy between the amount of time required to digest the fruit versus the other more complex foods. The digestion of the fruit is slowed down by the other food and moves too slowly through the digestive tract leading to gas and bloating

Couple of key combinations to avoid:

Bananas and milk are one of the heaviest food combinations; bananas are heating, and milk is cooling. Bananas become sour as they digest and break down. So now our digestive fire must process this sour substance and milk at the same time. Milk curdles when mixed with sour substances, like lemons for example, and what happens here in the digestive tract isn’t much different.

Fruit and yoghurt aren’t compatible for digestion and in-particular sour fruits mixed with cold yoghurt reduce the digestive fire and can lead to sinus congestion, colds and allergies

3.      Nightshades (peppers, eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes) with cheese – try eating with beans, other vegetables and grains

Nightshades and cheese are another taxing combination. Nightshades naturally contain complex compounds called alkaloids as a defense against insects. These compounds can create dramatic chemical reactions in the body which can be mildly to fatally toxic to humans. Nightshades are difficult to digest and have the capacity to disturb the dosha. The food combination with cheese which is already heavy to digest is very demanding on the digestive system. 

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