We all desire
for a long and healthy life. To achieve this our daily diet plays a
pivotal role. The old saying 'We are what we eat' should be ignored at no
cost. A diet which has all essential nutrients, balanced, cooked in a
proper manner, consumption of two or more food items not contrary in
qualities to each other is considered good and wholesome for the body and
that which is opposite to the above mentioned qualities i.e. not balanced,
not cooked adequately or cooked too much, food items differing in
qualities to one another is considered unwholesome, harmful and
incompatible. Consumption of such food leads to improper formation of
Dhatus (body tissues), causing many rogas (systemic diseases) in the body.
In this newsletter we shall see in detail about Viruddha Ahara
(Unwholesome / Incompatible foods) and the diseases caused by their
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Viruddha Ahara (Incompatible Food Items)
The literal meaning of the word Viruddha is opposite or contrary. That food which is wrong in combination (Samyog), improperly processed (Sanskara), consumed in inappropriate time of day or in wrong season is Virudhha Ahara (Incompatible food) and it can lead to disease formation. Food items which are opposite in qualities or which has opposite action on the tissues may exert undesirable effects if processed in a particular form or combined in a certain proportion or consumed at an incorrect time. Some incompatible combinations which may lead to diseases are explained below. A person desirous of healthy and disease-free life should avoid incompatible food combinations.
Some Incompatible Combinations :
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to place) – Excessive intake of hot
and sharp food in dry regions and sweet, unctuous food in marshy regions
is an example of Deshviruddha.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to season) – Excessive consumption
of pungent and sharp food articles in summers and cold, dry food in winter
season is an example of Kaala Viruddha.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to digestive fire) - Intake of
light to digest food when there is strong digestive fire and heavy
substances in weak digestive fire.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to quantity) - Honey and cow's ghee
when consumed in equal quantity is incompatible.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to habit) - Intake of light to
digest and dry food by a person who is accustomed to eating heavy and
unctuous food is an example of Satmya Viruddha.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to Dosha) – The use of diet, herbs
and treatment which are similar in qualities to the predominant dosha
present in a person.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to mode of preparation) - Heated or
cooked honey is considered to be like poison for the body while uncooked
honey is like nectar.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to potency) - Intake of hot and cold
potency food together in a meal is incompatible. Eg. Intake of fish and
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to alimentary canal) –
Administration of ununctuous herbs or substances in small quantity to a
person having Krura Koshtha (hard / costive bowels) and administration of
large dose of laxatives to a person having Mridu Koshtha (soft bowels).
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to status of health) - Consumption
of heavy to digest, cold potency and unctuous foods that aggravate Kapha
by a person after sleep and intake of light to digest, hot potency and dry
foods that aggravate Vata by a person after physical exertion are examples
of Avastha Viruddha.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to sequence) - Taking hot water
after honey and consuming curd at night is incompatible.
Viruddha (Contraindication Incompatibility) — Consuming cold water
immediately after having hot tea or coffee.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to treatment) - Intake of cold
items after taking ghee.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to cooking) – Cooking food with bad
fuel and undercooking or overcooking or burning food during the process of
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to combination) - Intake of banana
or sour fruits or sour food items with milk.
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to palatability) - Intake of
Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to quality of food) - Intake of
substances that are not mature or over mature or putrified.
Viruddha (Not following the rules of eating) - Not eating food which is
warm, unctous and in appropriate quantity, eating too slow or fast,
talking and laughing while eating and eating without concentration.
Diseases caused by Viruddha Ahara
causes various skin diseases, ascites, fistula-in-ano, intoxication,
abdominal distension, fever, rhinitis, stiffness, swelling, anaemia.
Incompatible foods does not produce diseases in those who are habituated
to physical exercise, who are strong, who have good digestive power, who
are accustomed to it by it's long use and who consume it in little
of diseases caused by Virudhha Ahara is Shodhana (purificatory therapies
which includes mainly emesis and purgation) and Shamana (palliative care
with herbs and measures contrary to the nature of the disease). One should
gradually discontinue the intake of incompatible and unhealthy food items
and start consuming healthy foods and not abruptly as withdrawal symptoms
due to sudden discontinuance of unhealthy substances may occur. By
discontinuation of unhealthy foods and intake of healthy foods, bad
effects of unhealthy measures will decrease and good effects of healthy
masures being adopted will increase, thus striking a balance restoring
health to the body once again. Thus by treating the diseases caused by
Virudhha Ahara and by consuming healthy food in proper quantity, the
person can attain optimal health and well-being.
This article is written by Vaidya Janaki Jayaraman, Consultant Physician at Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center.
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