Bad Food Combinations and Solution as Per Ayurveda

Though some food articles are quite safe, Ayurveda explains that combination of two particular safe foods may not be ideal for health. It depends upon the quantity of each food stuff, time of taking food, processing of food and a lot of other factors. Let’s have a look at the list.

Principles involved.

What is meant by combination of two foods?
Combination means – the two ingredients, taken together, at a time, mixed up.
The below-mentioned rules do not apply for taking food one after the other, especially mixed with many other ingredients, as in case of a meal, like you have described is perfectly fine.

Opposing dual qualities: If two qualities are strongly exhibited in two items and their combination would lead to a bad quality match, then they are rendered incompatible. Usually, hot potency and cold potency is considered. But this does not always hold good. For example, in some cases, in some hot potency herbs, they are treated with milk (cold potency) to lower its hotness. Example: Garlic Milk Remedy, Bhallataka (hot) – processed with milk etc.
Garlic with milk is not opposed by their potency (Veerya Viruddha). Hot and cold things are frequently used together. For example, coolant milk is boiled with hot garlic to prepare garlic milk remedy. Not all combinations of hot and cold things together is bad.
Only if, with lot of trials, if a particular combination is found to be causing stomach related symptoms such as bloating, vomiting, diarrhea or skin related issues such as allergic rashes, or some long-term effects such as chronic poisoning, only then that combination is forbidden to be taken together.

Similar qualities: If two foods have many similarities among them, to such an extent that the combination would increase a particular Dosha to a very high extent, then they are said incompatible.
 Fish with radish.

Opposing multiple qualities: If two foods have multiple opposing qualities, their combination is usually declared incompatible. For example – honey and ghee in equal quantities.

Processing: If processing of food leads to alteration / destruction of original quality of the food, then it is not recommended, such as heating of curds and heating of honey.

Time of intake: We learned in Basic Principles of Ayurveda that, the day and night can be divided into three parts, from morning to evening, in one third part, Kapha, Pitta and Vata are active. If taking some food aggravates Dosha due to its similarity in qualities with the timing of Dosha, then that food at that particular time is defined as incompatible. Example: Taking curds at night. Or taking excess sweets at night.

Wherever milk is mentioned below, it commonly refers to cow milk and it does not imply soya milk or almond milk.

Now let us dive into the actual list of bad Ayurveda food combinations. 

Wrong Food Combinations

Pork, Buffalo meat, Swan meat, goose, crab, fish, tortoise, should not not be taken along with black gram, honey, milk and germinated grains.
Radish is incompatible with fish.

Can we consume fish along with milk?

Fish with milk is incompatible.  Both fish and milk of them have sweet taste, but due to the contradiction in their potency (fish is hot and milk is cold) they vitiate the blood and obstruct the channels of circulation.
Fish with milk is wrong to take. That does not mean that milk products like paneer is not advised along with Fish. This rule only applies to milk.

Anupa Mamsa – Meat of Yak, buffalo, cow, deer, elephant,
Audaka / Varishaya – fish, whale, pearl oyster, conch snail, catfish, crocodile,
These meat / fishes should not be taken together with honey, sesame seeds, sugar candy, milk, black gram (Masha), radish, lotus stalk or germinated grains (Viruda dhanya). By doing so, one gets afflicted with deafness, blindness, trembling, loss of intelligence loss of voice and nasal voice, it may even cause death.

Meat of Kapota (dove) fried in mustard oil together with honey and milk, for this obstructs channels of circulation and causes dilatation of blood vessels, epilepsy, Shankhaka (a disease of the head characterized by acute pain in temporal region), Galaganda (Scrofula) or even death.

Milk should not be taken after the intake of radish, garlic, Keshnagandha (Moringa oleifera Lam.) Arjaka ( Ocimum gratissimum Linn), Sumukha Surasa (Tulsi – Holy basil), etc. this may cause skin diseases. Though garlic and milk are heated and used together in many medicines, cold milk should not be consumed immediately after garlic, radish, holy basil consumption.
Milk with certain vegetables is contra indicated. But preparing dishes of these vegetables with paneer is fine.

Holy basil with milk – If you are taking holy basil capsule or tablet for any respiratory or viral infection condition, then it is better to avoid having milk soon after this. Maintain a gap of at least 30 minutes between the two.

Milk with sour fruits – All sour substances, sour fruits such as sour mango, sour pomegranate, etc. are incompatible with milk.
Horse gram with milk is a bad combination.
After consuming green leafy vegetables and radish, drinking milk should be avoided.
Drumstick leaves or spinach with milk is not idea.
Sushruta Sutrasthana 20th chapter, 13th verse – Meat (blood, fat, marrow) of animal livings in marshy lands, and water (aquatic living beings such as fish), should not be consumed combined with freshly harvested grains, sprouted grains, muscle fat, honey, milk, jaggery and black gram. 
अतोऽन्यान्यपि संयोगादहितानि वक्ष्यामः- नवविरूढधान्यैर्वसामधुपयोगुडमाषैर्वा ग्राम्यानूपौदकपिशितादीनि नाभ्यवहरेत्;

Spinach with sesame seed – Indian spinach (Basella rubra) processed along with sesame seed paste causes diarrhea.
Pork should not be taken along with porcupine meat.

Honey should not be heated. Honey should not be consumed by a person suffering from excess heat as it causes Pitta increase.
Honey and ghee or honey and rainwater, both in water, both in equal quantity,
Radish along with black gram is forbidden.
Curds along with palm date,
Black pepper along with fish or during digestion of fish,
Banana along with buttermilk is not recommended.
Chicken and Spotted deer should not be taken along with curds.
Uncooked meat along with bile of animals is bad.
Curd with mango is fine, but it can cause or worsen cold and cough.

Sheep meat along with leaves of Kusumba herb
Germinated grains along with lotus stalk
Lakucha Phala (wild jack) along with black gram soup.

Kakamachi (Black night shade) along with jaggery
Pippali – Long pepper fruit, prepared with fish fat and Kakamachi (Black nightshade – Solanum nigrum), mixed with honey causes death.

Pippali (long pepper) processed with the oil in which fish is fried should be rejected.
Ghee kept in bronze vessel for more than 10 days should not be taken.
Hot substances or hot procedures (like sun bath) is not recommended along with Bhallataka (Semecarpus anacardium).
Mixing of milk, beer and Krishara (rice – green gram dish)
Mixing of equal quantities of any 2, 3 or all of the following is not recommended – honey, ghee, meat, fat, sesame oil and beverages.
Honey along with ghee, even in unequal proportions, should not be consumed along with water.
Honey along with seeds of Pushkara (Inula racemosa)
Honey, along with wine of dates (Maireya) and sugar
Milk drinks along with Mantha (solution of corn flour)
Mushroom with yellow cap, with mustard oil is incompatible.
Leaves of Jatuka (Ferula narthex) or ripe fruit of Nikucha (Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb). Should not be taken with honey and milk.
Ripe fruit of Nikucha (Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb) should not be taken with the soup of Masha (black gram), sugar candy and ghee because they are mutually contradictory.
Meat of Tittiri, peacock, Godha (Iguana lizard), Lava (common quail), Kapinjala, cooked by the fire of wood of castor and processed with, fried in castor oil is lethal.
Cucumber with nightshades is fine to take.
Egg with rice or egg with vegetables is fine to take. They can be cooked and consumed together.

Curd, Buttermilk Combinations

Betel nut along with curd or buttermilk is not idea.
Betel nut is usually consumed after having buttermilk or curd.
Buttermilk with lentils is good to take.
Cucumber with buttermilk is fine to take. Cucumber with sweet curd can cause cold issues.
Jaggery with buttermilk is fine to take. Jaggery with curd can cause weight gain and may worsen cold, cough, asthma, especially if taken at night.
Curd with sweet fruits can cause cold.

Garlic with milk

It is fine to take them together, when they are processed together in a recipe. For example, milk and garlic – cooked together is a recipe for bloating. This is called Lashuna Kshirapaka.
Taking milk after curd rice is not ideally recommended. It adds to the kapha dosha increase.
Tender coconut water along with milk is fine to take during summer. In a person with cold and cough, it can worsen the symptoms.
Coconut with cow milk is compatible. It is extremely nourishing and has calming effect on stomach. But it can worsen cough, cold, weak digestion and obesity.
Sprouted grains are usually not made a combination with milk.
Dried apricot is sour in taste. It is not good to take it with milk.
Fish with jaggery is fine to take.
Jaggery after chicken might be heavy to digest and can cause digestion issues.
Buttermilk after papaya or ilk after papaya is safe to take. In some people, it may cause loose motion.

Milk and rice

Milk and rice are compatible with each other. Even in Rasayana – anti ageing rejuvenation therapy, after taking medicines like Chyawanprash, Bramha rasayana etc in high dose, milk and rice are advised together to keep Pitta dosha under check and to provide body withe energy and nutrition.
Cooked rice can be added with milk and taken.
It is better to sit while taking solid or liquid foods.
Milk with gravy and rice is fine to take only when the gravy is very spicy. Milk nullifies the hotness of spices.
Milk with sweet fruits like apple is fine to take. But sour apples with milk is not good.
In a cereal with salt and paratha, using a little bit of milk looks fine, as long as the whole combination starts giving bloating and weaker digestion.
Milk with egg and sprouts is fine to take, as long as nothing is sour.

Lemons, tomatoes and cucumber are fine to use together.

Honey and ghee

Honey in ghee – equal quantities is a bad food combination. But if there are multiple ingredients, then honey and ghee can be used in equal proportions. For example, the quantity of honey and ghee is same in Chyawaprash. But because of more than 30 other ingredients, equal quantity rule does not apply.

During the making of a food or medicine, if ghee is used first, and then honey is used, then also, the equal quantity rule does not apply.

I have been advised to take almond soaked in honey and ghee by doctor. How should I take it?
Because only three ingredients are there, in this better to take almonds soaked in 2 teaspoons of honey, along with 10 drops of ghee.
Ghee with bitter melon is fine to consume.
Bitter gourd with egg
Curd and honey together are a good combination because these two are used together in Panchamrita preparation.

Ghee and honey or curd and honey cannot be mixed. But in Hindu festivals, there is a preparation called panchamrut- sugar, ghee, milk, honey and curd. Is this considered toxic? 
As per Ayurveda, ghee and honey should not be used in equal proportions. As per Ashtanga Hrudayam, Sutrathana section, 7th chapter, 39th Shloka,

मधुसर्पिर्वसातैलपानीयानि द्विशस्त्रिशः।
एकत्र वा समांशानि विरुध्यन्ते परस्परम्॥३९॥
madhusarpirvasātailapānīyāni dviśastriśaḥ|
ekatra vā samāṃśāni virudhyante parasparam||39||

Madhu – honey
sarpir – ghee
vasā – animal fat
taila – sesame oil
pānīyāni dviśa triśaḥ – these liquids, in combination of 2 or 3
ekatra vā – or all four together
samāṃśāni – in equal quantities
virudhyante parasparam – is mutually contradicting and act as wrong food combination. 

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It means, honey, ghee, muscle fat and sesame oil – two, three or all four of these should not be used together in equal quantities.
Read: Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 7th Chapter 

Sarvanga Sundari commentary on this Shloka explains as below  

ननु, यद्येवंविधो विरोध उच्यते तत्कथमगस्त्यलेहे -“कुडवं च पृथग्घृतात्| तैलात्सपिप्पलीचुर्णात्सिद्धशीते च माक्षिकात्||” इति तैलघृतमधूनां तुल्यांशानां प्रयोगः? ब्रूमः| 
केवलानां मध्वादीनां समांशानामुपयोगो विरुद्धः न तु द्रव्यान्तरसंयुक्तानाम्| 
अपि तु द्रव्यान्तरसंयुक्तानां तेषां संयोगसंस्कारादिवशाद्विशिष्टगुणान्तरोत्पत्तिर्दृष्टा| 
तस्मादगस्त्यलेहादौ द्रव्यान्तरसंयोगादिवशादविरुद्ध एव|

nanu, yadyevaṁvidho virodha ucyate tatkathamagastyalehe -“kuḍavaṁ ca pṛthagghṛtāt| tailātsapippalīcurṇātsiddhaśīte ca mākṣikāt||” iti tailaghṛtamadhūnāṁ tulyāṁśānāṁ prayogaḥ? brūmaḥ| kevalānāṁ madhvādīnāṁ samāṁśānāmupayogo viruddhaḥ na tu dravyāntarasaṁyuktānām| api tu dravyāntarasaṁyuktānāṁ teṣāṁ saṁyogasaṁskārādivaśādviśiṣṭaguṇāntarotpattirdṛṣṭā| tasmādagastyalehādau dravyāntarasaṁyogādivaśādaviruddha eva|

To explain the above in English 
nanu, yadyevaṁvidho virodha ucyate – Like this, the wrong combinations of honey, ghee etc. are explained  tatkathamagastyalehe – then, why in Agastya rasayana leha,
“kuḍavaṁ ca pṛthagghṛtāt| tailātsapippalīcurṇātsiddhaśīte ca mākṣikāt||” – 192 grams of ghee, sesame oil, Pippali powder and honey are added.

iti tailaghṛtamadhūnāṁ tulyāṁśānāṁ prayogaḥ? brūmaḥ| – Then why here in Agastya Rasayana, it is said- ghee, honey and sesame oil are explained to be used in equal quantities?
kevalānāṁ madhvādīnāṁ samāṁśānāmupayogo viruddhaḥ – Only the said four, honey, ghee, sesame oil and fat, these four, when used together or any two or three, only then it is a wrong combination.

na tu dravyāntarasaṁyuktānām – This rule does not apply when other ingredients are mixed along with it.
api tu dravyāntara saṁyuktānāṁ teṣāṁ – When other ingredients are mixed in a medicine or food recipe,  
saṁyoga saṁskārādi vaśād viśiṣṭa guṇāntar utpattir dṛṣṭā – a special and different effect is seen due to different combination and also based on how the ingredients are processed or cooked.
tasmāt agastyalehādau dravyāntara saṁyogādi vaśād aviruddha eva – Therefore, in Agastya Avaleha etc. medicines, where many ingredients are used along with honey, ghee, sesame oil etc. in equal quantities, it is not Viruddha. The wrong food combination does not apply here.

To summarize, if honey and ghee are taken in equal quantities, only then the rule will apply. If other ingredients are mixed in it, then this rule does not apply. Many other medicines have honey and ghee in equal quantities like Chyawanprash, Saptamrita Loha etc. So, there, the rule of wrong food combination does not apply.
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Wrong food combination means, such a combination can cause poisonous effects as in food poisoning, can cause allergic symptoms, can also imbalance our immune system. This may not happen when you take honey and ghee together, just once. If taken in higher quantities, for a long periods of time, then the ill effects become visible. The ill effects can be in the form of skin allergy, stomach upset, worsening of infection, inflammation etc.
 To answer your question, honey and ghee, being in equal quantities in Panchamrita does not make it a wrong combination due to the presence of other ingredients.
 Read: Panchamrita Benefits

Dairy products

Paneer with milk
Can Paneer be taken with milk? 
Dr JV Hebbar 
Yes, it can be taken by someone wanting to put on weight, or having a high Pitta symptom such as extreme burning sensation allover the body, say during summer season. 
Read: What Is Paneer? How To Make Paneer? Paneer Recipe
This combination requires a very good digestion strength to digest it, as both are heavy to digest. Hence, in any recipe, if you are using these two together, better to spice it up with ginger, cumin, black pepper etc.  

Milk and paneer are fine. Useful to improve weight. Can cause cold. Paneer paratha is fine to be given to children. Paneer goes well with salt.
Curd, Buttermilk, Amla Pickle, Ghee and butter are fine to use along with chickpea. While using this combination, better to add some spices to the recipe so as to improve digestion capacity.
Ghee with warm milk is very good for health. Ghee with cold milk may cause low digestion problem.
Ghee placed in brass vessel for more than the period of 10 days should be avoided,
Buffalo milk with coconut powder can increase Kapha Dosha. It is very good to induce sleep.
Jaggery with milk – if the jaggery has sour content in it, it can curdle the milk. Hence, this combination is not very ideal. It can worsen cold, cough.
Jaggery can be added to buttermilk.
Milk with green gram is fine to take.
Banana mix with curd and honey is fine to take, as long as curd and honey are not heated. In excess, it is not good for digestion.
Having jaggery after chicken can cause digestion problems.
Paneer with milk or curd can increase Kapha dosha.
Curd with pickle is very fine to take. In South India, we consume curd rice along with pickle at the end part of meals.

Spice combinations

Milk with turmeric is fine to take.
Ginger boiled with milk is fine to take.
Ginger, lemon and honey are fine to take together.

Dry fruits, super foods

Dry fruit powder like peanut, walnut, cashew etc. can be mixed while preparing chapati, rice, and other dishes for kids.
Moringa is fine to take before going to gym or even after gym workout.
Coconut, sesame seeds and jaggery is a good combination.
Protein powder (with sodium content of 54 mg in 1 serving) is fine to take along with milk. Only milk and salt in high quantities is contra-indicated.
It is fine to have paratha made with a little salt with milk.
Granola cereal with milk is fine to take, as the content of salt in it is less.
Pomegranate with mango is fine to take.
Dates is compatible with buttermilk.


Tomato can be used along with lemon.

The treatment for incompatible food consumption

Shodhana – purification procedure – Panchakarma. It helps the cleanse the body and gut of the toxins.
Shamana – palliative treatment – Based on particular Dosha imbalance observed in the patient.
Virodha chikitsa – symptom-based treatment.
Health should be restored quickly by using food that have opposite qualities to that of incompatible foods.

In whom it might not affect?

In those who exercise regularly, who are habituated to oily fatty food, who have good digestion power, in young and strong, the incompatible food will not cause any ill effects.
In those, who are habituated (sathmya) to incompatible food and in those who take low quantities of incompatible food for a long period of time, the ill effects will not be seen.

Types of food incompatibility

Types of Viruddha Ahara- Types of food incompatibility as explained by Charaka:

1. Desha Viruddha – Place – Intake of dry and strong substances such as strong wine, in deserts; oily and cold substance in marshy land is place contradictory diet habit. because, in deserts, it causes extreme increase of Vata and Pitta and in marshy land, it causes extreme increase of Kapha Dosha.

2. Kala Viruddha – Time contradictory diet habit – Intake of cold and dry substances in winter; pungent and hot substance in the summer.

3. Agni Viruddha – Power of Digestion contradictory diet – Intake of heavy-to-digest food when the power of digestion is low (mandagni); intake of light food when the power of digestion is very high (Teekshnagni). Similarly, intake of food at various with irregular and normal power of digestion fall under this category.

4. Matra Viruddha – Dose specific diet contradiction – Intake of honey and ghee in equal quantities

5. Satmya Viruddha – Habit specific diet contradiction- Intake of sweet and cold substance by persons accustomed to pungent and hot substances.

6. Dosha Viruddha – Dosha specific diet contradiction- Utilization of drugs, diets and regimen having similar qualities with Doshas but at variance with the habit of the individual.

7. Samskara Viruddha – processing – Method of preparation specific diet contradiction: – Drugs and diets which when prepared in a particular way produce poisonous effects, for example, meat of peacock roasted on a castor spit, heating of honey etc.

8. Veerya Viruddha – Potency specific diet contradiction- Substances having cold potency in combination with those of hot potency.

9. Koshta Viruddha – Bowel specific diet contradiction
Administration of a mild purgative in a small dose for a person of with hard bowel (Krura Koshta) and administration of strong purgatives food for a person with soft bowel (Mrudu Koshta).

10. Avastha Viruddha –Stage specific contradiction: Indulgence in Vata aggravating diet after physical stress, sexual intercourse, exercise.
Indulgence in Kapha aggravating diet by a lethargic, sleepy person.

11. Krama Viruddha – Order specific contradiction – If a person takes food before his bowel and urinary bladder are clear (empty) or when he does not have appetite or after his hunger has been highly aggravated.

12. Parihara Viruddha –Prescription specific contradiction – Intake of hot things after taking pork.

13. Upachara Viruddha – Treatment specific contradiction – Taking cold things after taking ghee.

14. Paka Viruddha – Cooking contradiction – Preparation of food with bad or rotten fuel, under-cooking, over-cooking or burning during the process of preparation.

15. Samyoga Viruddha – Combination – Intake of sour substance with milk.

16. Hrudaya Viruddha – Palatability: Any substance which is not pleasant in taste.

17. Sampat Viruddha – Richness of quality: – Intake of substance that are not mature, over-mature or purified.

18. Vidhi Viruddha – Rules of eating :- Taking meals in public

Effect of taking incompatible foods

Intake of unwholesome food is responsible for the
Shandya – causation of sterility,
Andhya – blindness,
Visarpa (herpes, spreading type of skin disease),
Dakodara – ascites,
Visphota – eruptions,
Unmada – insanity,
Bhagandara – fistula,
Murcha – fainting,
Mada – intoxication,
Adhmana – bloating
Galagraha – spasmodic obstruction in throat,
Pandu – anemia, initial stage of liver disorder
Amavisha- poisoning due to Ama (indigestion and altered metabolism),
Kilasa type of skin disease,
Kushta – skin disorders
Grahani – sprue, IBS,
Shotha – edema,
Amlapitta – acid dyspepsia,
Jvara – fever,
Peenasa – rhinitis,
Santana Dosha – fetal diseases and
Mrutyu – death. [102-103]

Treatment for disorders of incompatible food and diet habits

First the undigested food particles left in the gut and the highly imbalanced doshas should be expelled out of the body. For this purpose, two Panchakarma treatments – Vamana – emesis treatment and Virechana – purgation treatment is adopted.
Then, specific antidotes and prophylaxis is adopted.

Weaning, Treatment

Unhealthy things – foods, drinks, activities which have become accustomed by long use should be discontinued by quarter and quarter gradually.
Similarly healthy things (foods etc.) should be gradually made use with intervals of 1, 2 and 3 days.
So, the process of shift from bad to good food should be gradual and methodical, rather than a sudden shift.
Sudden discontinuance of unhealthy things, foods, drinks etc. and indulgence in healthy things, done suddenly and improperly give rise to diseases.
The ill effects of incompatible foods that eliminated gradually and good habits developed gradually leads to robust health.

Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 7th chapter

Are milk and rice compatible with each other?
Yes, Milk and rice are compatible with each other. Even in Rasayana – anti ageing rejuvenation therapy, after taking medicines like Chyawanprash, Bramha rasayana etc. in high dose, milk and rice are advised together to keep Pitta dosha under check and to provide body with energy and nutrition.
Cooked rice can be added with milk and taken.
It is better to sit while taking solid or liquid foods.

Understanding modern foods

How to understand bad foods as per modern times?

Genetically modified foods, excessive pesticide usage in foods, using sewage water for irrigation – these cause serious health hazards to us and to our next generation. 

Presence of Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic wrapped foods is known to cause teratogenicity in rats. (Alters the health of fetus) 

Wrapping foods in newspapers is declared as a health hazard by FSSAI. 

Adulterated milk, adulterated foods and spices such as saffron, honey, ghee etc causes a wide range of ill effects. 
As per the report published in the journal of Food sciences and technology, 2013 5(1-2), 64-68, 68.4 % of milk in India is adulterated. 

Additives such as artificial colors, flavoring agents, preservatives, anti-oxidants, sweeteners, gelling agents, emulsifiers – all these in food definitely have hazardous effects on health. 

Addition By –
Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu) PhD.

Annagata Dosha – Effects of Improper Food

It has become very common to find several health issues due to intake of improper food. Timings, nature of food, combination of food, improper method of intake, wrong food practices after intake of specific food are major facts which we are unaware most of the times. It is the reason even the best food, nutritive eatables, energy rich food, and hygienically prepared food also shows untoward effects on body.
Read – Eating Etiquette: Healthy Eating Rules

This write up is made to explore such facts as per the classical guidelines. Most of these verses are taken from ‘Paka darpana’ text, which is believed to be written by Maharaja Nala, who was also a best chef too.
Read – Can Fruits Be Consumed with Meals? Ayurveda Explains

According to text there are mainly eight major causes for manifestation of discomforts due to food and they are as follows-

1. Asritanna (improperly decanted rice and grains)

After cooking rice or any food grains if watery portion is not filtered it becomes sour on metabolic change (vipaka wise-sour). Such a food if consumed it will lead to various abdominal discomforts like indigestion, regurgitation, heaviness, sour belching etc.
Read – Health Benefits Of Vegetarian Diet – Ayurvedic Opinion

2. Paicchilya anna (Slimy food)

If food over cooked it becomes pasty and slimy. Such food causes indigestion and features of Ama.

3. Ashuchi anna (unhygienic food)

If food is contaminated with worms, hair, nail or any non-eatable substances it is called polluted food.
It will cause tastelessness, nausea, vomiting etc.
Read – 11 Ayurvedic eating tips for good health

4. Kwathitanna (Food cooked in less quantity)

If less amount food is cooked in large quantity of water, it is called Kwathitanna which means improperly cooked food. In fact, such a food is not cooked equally.

Intake of such eatables will result is Atma dosha- means dissatisfaction or sensation for further craving for food of different nature. It is practically evident also.
Read – 5 Ayurvedic Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle

5. Shushkanna (Dried food)

After long gap of cooking, if food is taken such a food becomes dry or hard. Such a food if taken causes acidic regurgitation as a result of improper digestion.

6. Dagdhanna (Burnt food)

If food is cooked by using high intensity of flame or for prolonged period, it gets charred or over cooked with less amount of water. Such a burnt or charred food will certainly cause emaciation, tissue damage, may act as carcinogenic also and burning in stomach and chest.

7. Viroopanna (food prepared by unsorted grain/ rice)

Without sorting food grains for any kind of adulterants like stone, other grains of different nature etc., if food is cooked it is called Viroopanna. Such a food will stay in stomach for long period and decrease life span and quality of life.
Read – Lifestyle Tips for Healthy People and Patients in Ayurveda

8. Anartu anna – Un seasonal food

It is commonly found nowadays; people eat different kind of food of their liking without taking a thought about the season and nature of food. Example, in winter also people enjoy ice cream, chilled beverages etc. Such food stuffs are named as Anartu ahara.
Such food articles will cause.
Nidra – sleepy, malaise, drowsy and feel discomfort.
These symptoms suggest toward indigestion.
The symptoms largely depend on the type of wrong food taken.
Read – Importance of Diet (Pathya) For Specific Diseases

Each mentioning in classical Ayurvedic literature is unique. In-depth study and its application in various dimensions will surely unfurl the rationality behind food habits. As most of the diseases of present day are due to bad food habits, true and judicial incorporation of these points and their application in wider sense will help to curb at least few such diseases.

Click to consult Dr MS Krishnamurthy by email

Addition by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

How to identify food incompatibility?

How to identify unknown food incompatibilities, wrong food combos and allergies?

Ayurveda has been exemplary in giving strong concepts of food and dietetics. The concepts related to food explained in Ayurveda are followed even today. Time and again these concepts have been proved to be conducive to health. This ancient science of health has elaborated many types of food incompatibilities and allergies. Viruddha Ahara and 18 types of food combinations which are not wholesome for health, as explained in Ayurvedic treatises is the earliest work done on unhealthy food combinations, which includes the concept of food allergies and food poisoning.

In the modern era wherein, we are confused so as to what to eat and what to reject, when we are constantly becoming victims of food borne disorders, when the food is seen with fear and when there are so many types of tempting foods in offer, the golden question is how to detect these new food incompatibilities. How to know the right food combinations and how to keep away erroneous combinations?

Identification of incompatible and allergic foods, and wrong food combos

It is indeed very difficult to identify the unknown allergens. Similarly, it is difficult to figure out which food combinations are beneficial, and which are harmful.

The answer –

Constant rejection or constant reaction to any food, by the body, should be considered as viruddha i.e., antagonistic or asatmya i.e., non-conducive. Here the nature of food will be unknown and would beat the ‘intelligence system of our body’. This rule is applicable even for new foods we consume. For many of us, the newly introduced foods may not show any reaction and the body may not reject those foods. But in some people, they may show reaction and rejection on a constant basis. Quantum of rejection and reaction may vary from mild to moderate too severe.

When it happens in a small quantum, there is a chance that they may produce small disturbances in the body in the form of gastric upset, nausea, headache, skin allergy or flaring up of certain conditions which already exist for a short time. Here, due to feebleness of symptoms, we may ignore addressing them. They may be food incompatibilities which are not accepted by body elements, therefore the reaction. This may be a temporary affair.

But if the same foods are taken for long time, they may constantly disturb doshas and symptoms may appear again and again. These may be considered as food allergies. They will have a long run until nidana parivarjana i.e., identification and isolation of etiological factors in the form of culprit food has been done.

On the other hand, if the reaction and rejection is strong, like a pradhanika hetu i.e., fulminant etiological factors, there may be strong symptoms like uncontrollable diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, life-threatening reactions etc. Here, the food may be considered as poison, the food poisoning.

These factors vary from person to person, from food to food. Therefore, enlisting the unknown allergies and incompatibilities with respect to food is moreover a personalization, a personalized approach. The person should be wise enough to identify foods which cause reaction and rejection constantly. More emphasis should be given in this direction if food is new and unknown. We need to remember that the known foods too can cause reactions, but we may ignore them because we are habituated to them, and we do not want to acknowledge them as culprits.

Ayurveda has given a list of viruddha aharas i.e., unhealthy food combinations, which appear reasonable and applicable even today, though many might have gone unnoticed.

Foods, in simple understandable ways can be classified as –

1. Foods we love – These foods are accustomed or regularly practiced. We have loved them over a period of time or made to believe so. These foods do not generally cause troubles unless adulterated. Interesting thing to note about these foods is that these too can cause small troubles but may go unnoticed, or we may ignore acknowledging them as causal for our problems just because we love them. Just like we ignore the mistakes done by our kids since we love them.

Case 1 – Once, one of my Punjabi clients said that his dietitian has told him to stop chapatti and potato, which forms the bulk of food consumed by people of that region, since they might be causing allergy. This was done after a series of food incompatible tests were done and possible culprits identified. He was in utmost stress!!

Case 2 – One of my clients begged me to allow him to take sugarcane juice daily as it would keep his sugar levels at textual levels. Doctors had ignored him and had prohibited him from doing so. He says that it is his favorite (do not know why and how) and he feels stressed giving it up, his family too doesn’t support him. According to him keeping away the juice gives him stress and stress is causing high blood sugar levels. I allowed him to do so. Believe me; his readings on the next 15 days were normal.

Similarly, being a South Indian (this is only an example, nothing to do with region or religion) I may really be worried if I am put up in a place where I do not get rice which is my most loved food. The body may still show some symptoms like loss of appetite, indigestion, constipation etc. because of my indifference with new foods in that region and moreover dissatisfaction of not getting my loved foods.

Food is a mind concept you see!

2. Foods we hate – There are some foods we hate to eat. We are still compelled to eat them without rejecting since it is family food. The saved files of dislike have become manasika ama causing many disorders, physical and mental, may be of mild to moderate scale and varied attitude towards food. This may go unnoticed. And many times, we inevitably start liking those foods or blend with the concept, thus it becomes satmya i.e., conducive and do not harm us. Some hated foods may cause instant reactions and rejections with serious symptoms.

3. Foods which hate us – This is tricky. These are foods not just made for us, while others enjoy eating them. These foods keep giving untoward reactions and rejections time and again. It is easy to identify them on regular basis. Because every time we take them, they create problems. They are etiological factors of diseases. One needs to just keep them away. They are either food allergies or food poisons.

4. Alien Foods, anukta viruddha ahara – These are the wrong food mixtures and unwholesome foods, a point of this discussion. This is also easy to handle, in terms of identifying them. Whenever we are introduced to a new food or new format of food, we need to be conscious about what happens after consumption. At the same time, it is human to try new things.

Food shall be a conscious factor, not a fear factor’ – I tell this to all my clients.

But when these new foods are producing new symptoms which we haven’t experienced or flare ups of old conditions which were long gone, they are clues towards lack of adjustment of the food with our interior. We may ignore these symptoms on the first happening, but when they repeatedly happen with every consumption of the same food or foods, the alert system of the body will ring bells. It is idiocy of not catching up with those cautions.

Unmentioned harmful food combinations

Doshas and anukta viruddha ahara (unmentioned harmful food combinations)

It is obvious that the doshas get disturbed and go out of balance after taking viruddha ahara i.e., harmful food combos.

As per Acharya Charaka ‘unknown viruddha aharas or any viruddha aharas as a matter of fact disturb / provoke the doshas but do not expel them’.

Yes. If the foods provoke the doshas and expel them, they become medicines, not incompatible foods or dangerous food combos.

Then what happens?

Wrong food combos or incompatible foods vitiate the doshas. These doshas effect one of the below-mentioned events –

  • Doshas which get provoked by unknown foods stay in the body put into circulation and damage the tissues causing mild to moderate symptoms.
  • If immunity and fight-back mechanism of the body are good, the doshas do not harm much. They cause mild symptoms and get pacified unless the person is accustomed to take the same food repeatedly.
  • If the immunity is not good, these foods may cause severe symptoms immediately and may have a long run, still needs interventions.
  • If these foods are taken occasionally, they may cause allergic reactions which either go away after the food has been discontinued or may get addressed with some sort of intervention.
  • When ignored or not addressed, the flared up doshas, immaterial of the quantity of vitiation, stay put up for long duration and act as ama, i.e. endotoxins, over a period of time. These may cause chronic diseases.

The fact that these doshas are not expelled naturally, indicates the need of suppressing or expelling them either by palliative approaches or purifying treatments, depending on the quantity of dosha increase.

Also –

Availability of anishta ahara i.e., foods which are not desired or loved and non-availability of ishta ahara i.e., likable and loved foods, may also show reactions over a period of time as they cause manasika ama, i.e., mind toxins.

It is said, ‘Anna parabrahma swaroopam’. It means ‘Food is equivalent to the creator, the God’. We were asked to recite this before consuming food in childhood. It has been a practice ever since. No food in relation is designed to harm life. But staying in modern era, it is our responsibility to choose and eat food consciously. 

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Neem, Banana with milk

If the banana is sweet, it is fine to take it along with cow milk. Only sour fruits are not compatible with milk. Coconut milk is indeed compatible with banana. Sweet banana with milk is a good combination. It is given to newlyweds for its aphrodisiac properties. Banana milkshake is a valid drink to consume.
Milk with neem is compatible.
Ragi is compatible with milk.
Cumin is compatible with milk.
Consuming milk at the end of food is fine, if the food was spicy. It helps to balance down the excess hotness.
Kala chana along with curd can increase Kapha Dosha and sputum. Hence, not recommended when you have cough or cold.

Saint’s words

As per Sri Ganeshadasa Bhaktamali Prabhu Charana,
Eating 2 or more foods prepared from milk together is very harmful practice for liver. and digestive problems these days. Kheer, kadhi, shrikhand, any candy of milk, cream, raayta, paneer, sweet curd etc. fruit salad, tomato and tamarind foods together cause kidney weakening. Bhel Puri and other chats, watermelon juice with milk in it, dahi wada (dahi and urad daal cause of major heart blockages) are also extreme dangerous – as heard from a senior Yogi Vaidya in olden days. Sitaram.

If we cooked vegetable in sesame oil, can we put Desi Ghee/Butter on the vegetable while serving?

Meat with sesame oil is fine to take. Using sesame oil to fry meat is fine. 

Dal and milk look fine. But not often used together in cooking. Precaution is needed.

There is no rule that fruits should not be consumed with food. Master Sushruta has quoted use of fruits with food.

Milk with black gram is used only where aphrodisiac action is required, or in high Vata, low Kapha conditions, where Kapha needs increasing.

It is okay to combine cooked fruit with a regular meal. Like, adding fresh cranberries/cherries/strawberries etc in Rasam or sambar(and cooking it) as a tomato substitute. 

Taking milk with vegetable paratha with onion is fine.

Sir- I have just prepared a vegetarian gravy with onion, tomatoes and garlic and when all was cooked added 2 spatula milk for color and creamy texture…is it ok or am i unknowingly serving a lethal combination to my guests…:-(

When multiple ingredients are involved, the two-ingredient combination rule does not apply. Hence, nothing to worry about. 

Green gram and milk – not good.
Milk with onion / brinjal – no problem, although I haven’t seen this combination anywhere.
Milk with carrot, beets, greenies – appears no problem.
Milk with chickpea – appears no problem.
Milk with olive oil – better that the milk be warm.
Cheese with fruits or nuts/ seeds – no problem.

Dry fruits with milk are fine. But coconut and milk are incompatible with each other. (reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana).

[Reply assisted by manjeetb4u]

Gaurav – Per my understanding of this article, certain combinations are explicitly called out as ‘bad’ in the Samhitas. Everything else is allowed or left to discretion based on other general Ayurvedic principles, some of which are mentioned in this article.

On which grounds would yogurt and honey be incompatible? Yogurt+Sugar is different from Yogurt+Honey because honey reduces Kapha unlike sugar.

Milk can be used along with sweet tasting fruits. Example: Draksha (grapes /raisin) is an ingredient of Triphala ghrita, which contains milk as another ingredient.

In Parushakadi leham, Parushaka and Draksha (grapes) are used, for this medicine, milk is used as anupana – co drink / after drink. –

Milk along with sour fruits are not ideal.

Almond and milk cannot be said as incompatible. Almonds are best absorbed into the body, when soaked in water. Taking that into consideration, it is best to use soaked almonds along with milk. At the worst, almonds may not get completely absorbed, but it cannot be said to be incompatible.

Milk and black gram are compatible. Here is a black gram milk remedy which acts as aphrodisiac. –

Eggs with bread are fine.
1. Yogurt with curries and biryani is not very bad, provided yogurt is very watery (diluted).

2. Mixing turmeric and mustard seeds is not bad. mustard and mustard oil have differences.

3. Milk and garlic is a good combination. It is not bad.

4. Similarly, cooking with ghee and garlic / ginger paste is absolutely fine.

Milk with starch is fine. In fact, milk with starch is not a bad combination. If you mix milk with rice, it is indeed a combination of milk and starch.

Using yoghurt in biryani and curries is fine. Multiple ingredients are involved. So, the dual ingredient bad combination rule does not apply here.

1. Curd at night is wrong.
2. Curd, extremely hot things during summer are wrong.
3. Sweets and oily food substances at night is wrong – aggravates Kapha|
4. Having heavy sweets early in the morning is wrong – aggravates Kapha
5. Having heavily sour, excess salty and pungent things in the afternoon is wrong- aggravates Pitta

Dr Malini Bhat  
Food which can be taken:
• Including lots of fruits and vegetables into your diet will help improve your skin cells.
• In meats you can choose lean meat and fish as your preferred food.
• The best functional foods to consume are soy, cranberries, nuts and chocolate.
• The breakfast may consist of fresh fruits such as apples, grapes, pears, peaches, pineapples and a handful of raw nuts or a couple of tablespoons of raw seeds.
• A large bowl of fresh green vegetable salad and sprouts may be taken for lunch and dinner may consist of steamed vegetables and whole wheat chapati
• Flaxseed is a really good source of Omega-3 acid. This will help people control inflammation
• Carrots, beets, cucumbers and grapes may be used for juices.
• 25 black raisins soaked overnight in water along with water in which they are soaked as well as water kept overnight in a copper vessel.
• Coconut water
• Yogasanas like padmasana, ekapada uttanasana, yoga mudra and shavasana

Food to avoid:

• Juices of citrus fruits should be avoided.
• All animal fats, including milk, butter and eggs should be avoided
• Refined or processed foods and foods containing hydrogenated fats or white sugar, all condiments, tea, coffee, alcohol and tobacco should also be avoided.
• Foods with Omega 6: Omega 6 fatty acids are found in a lot of different vegetable oils. They are present in corn oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil etc. chances are high that foods such as potato chips, cakes, etc. also have them
• Sweet food
• Caffeine and alcohol

Gaurav – Banana clogs the channels, and so does milk by itself (at least it’s not so easily digestible), so taking both together is not recommended as this effect gets multiplied. And if I’m not mistaken, both are very high in “Kapha”, so even “similar qualities” rule above applies.

Yellow mushroom

… hāridraḥ kaṭutailavān ||41||

Turmeric is haridrā, but haridrā is not equal to hāridra.

Sarvāṅgasundarā commentary on Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṃhitā Sū.7.41:

hāridraḥ-kuprasavaḥ śākaviśeṣaḥ sarpacchatrānukārī pītābhāsaḥ, kaṭutailavān-sarṣapatailabhṛṣṭo, viruddhaḥ |

Āyurvedarasāyana commentary on Aṣṭāṅgahṛdayasaṃhitā Sū.7.41:
hāridrakaṭutailayorvirodhāmāha-hāridra iti| hāridraḥpītavarṇaśchatrākaviśeṣaḥ kandaḥ| kaṭutailavān-sarṣapatailabhṛṣṭaḥ|

Hāridra is a mushroom with a yellow cap. It is Agaricus campestris.

Mushroom with paneer

Can paneer and mushroom be cooked together as per Ayurveda? 
Dr JV Hebbar 
Both Paneer and mushroom can be consumed by a healthy person as per Ayurveda. 
Paneer is heavy to digest and not recommended when a person has indigestion, anorexia, bloating, asthma, cough and cold. But for a healthy person, paneer is recommended. 
Read: What Is Paneer? How To Make Paneer? Paneer Recipe
Mushrooms are also well explained in Ayurveda. In some people with weak digestion or hyper-sensitivity, it can cause allergy or indigestion problems. 
Read: Mushrooms: Uses, Remedies, Research, Side Effects

This combination of paneer with mushroom can be slightly heavy to digest and may not be recommended during the times of fever, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, cough and cold. But for a healthy person, this combination works fine.

24 comments on “Bad Food Combinations and Solution as Per Ayurveda

  • Hyato

    30/12/2020 - 3:50 pm

    Namaste Dr. Hebber,

    First of all , excellent compilation of good-bad food combinations . In this day and age, it has to be followed even more carefully.

    I cook rice along with yellow mung dal ,water. And when serving, i add ghee to it. Exceptional aroma and taste. My doubt is, Can i eat boiled egg(duck) with this meal ?

    I want to know, if ghee and eggs are compatible ? because ghee being cold and egg yolks being hot.

    Thank you for reading my query.

    Reply to comment
  • Ruhi

    26/02/2021 - 8:36 pm

    what about Kilat

    Reply to comment
  • sharanya s

    30/07/2021 - 11:50 am

    hi .. i saw a drink .. which combines beetroot, ginger(a pinch), and gooseberry(amla) for promoting hair growth. since its a vegetable and fruit combination. can these both be combined?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      30/07/2021 - 2:11 pm


      Reply to comment
      • Beautifier

        25/10/2021 - 2:07 pm

        Dr. Hebbar is Amla and Tomato a bad combination ?
        I am preparing juice with amla, tomato , carrot and beetroot but someone told me amla and tomato are incompatible so I could use either of the 2 with carrot beetroot combination but not both.
        Pls clarify as I don’t want to aggravate any doshas. Pls help.

        Reply to comment
  • Jacob

    28/10/2021 - 4:31 am

    Hi Sir,

    Is it alright to consume Mung Dal and Rice in equal quantities ( 1/4 cup mung dal and 1/4 cup rice)?

    I have read someone say that you should use more rice than mung as otherwise it confuses the body? ( I don’t know how legitimate that is, I just read it somewhere)

    Thanks Sir

    Reply to comment
  • Aditi Lall

    05/04/2022 - 12:52 pm

    I have heard that Wheat (chapati) with kheera (cucumber) is a bad combination. Can you guide and clarify if this is true?

    Reply to comment
  • Rav

    06/05/2022 - 4:42 pm

    Is combination of ghee and chicken is ok?

    Reply to comment
  • Chris

    14/05/2022 - 2:12 pm


    A well explained article. I have a question. Can bitter gourd be consumed alongside a meat preparation (chicken)?

    Thank you.

    Reply to comment
  • Urmi

    28/07/2022 - 3:28 am

    Hi there. Can ghee be combined with goat meat?

    Reply to comment
  • Hima Bindu

    09/08/2022 - 10:12 am

    Can butter and milk be taken together?

    Reply to comment
  • abhilash b l

    27/09/2022 - 9:56 pm

    Hi sir,
    Can we add lemon to kichidi which is mad of ghee?

    Reply to comment
  • Gowtham

    22/10/2022 - 10:33 pm

    Can banana be taken with bread/roti?

    Reply to comment

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