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Can Fruits Be Consumed With Meals? Ayurveda Explains

Some say fruits should be taken on empty stomach or it should be taken 30 minutes before food. As per Ayurveda, the short answer to this question is – it really depends on the nature of the fruit. 

fruit with meals

Fruits are explained in the chapter of Annapana Vidhi Adhyaya of Charaka. This chapter explains foods and drinks that are used as meals. It also explains fruits. This indicates that fruits can be part of meals.

Ancient meal time
In ancient times, there were only 2 meal times. So, whatever was consumed (except liquids) were consumed as part of meals or just before or soon after meals. This does not mean that we should not consume fruits in other than meal time. But what this means is, fruits can be consumed as part of meals.

In ancient times, there were only 2 meal times. So, whatever was consumed (except liquids) were consumed as part of meals or just before or soon after meals. This does not mean that we should not consume fruits in other than meal time. But what this means is, fruits can be consumed as part of meals.

Sweet fruits:
In the sequence of taking food, it is explained that sweet substances should be taken first, followed by sour, salt, pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. Hence, sweet fruits can be included in early part of meals, sour fruits can be included in second part of meals and so on.

Based on heaviness and lightness of digestion:
Usually the fruits that are heavy to digest – such as jack fruit, mango, etc are consumed in first part of meals. This is because Ayurveda measures digestion capacity based on hunger. More the hunger, more the digestion capacity. Hunger is more in early part of meals. Hence, it makes sense to take heavy to digest fruits in early part of meals.
Light to digest fruits such as pomegranate can be taken at the end part / soon after meals.

Exception to above rule:
If the total meals was spicy and one is having excess thirst, then it makes sense to take coolant sweet fruits such as banana or mango, even at the end of meals. The spicy foods would stimulate digestion strength and hence would be able to digest sweet fruits.

Folklore proverb:
There is a proverb in Kannada –
ಹಸಿದು ಹಲಸಿನ ಹಣ್ಣು ತಿನ್ನು, ಉಂಡು ಬಾಳೆಹಣ್ಣು ತಿನ್ನು.
It means, eat jack fruit when hungry (just before or as first part of meals).
Eat banana after meals. This makes sense because, banana which is slightly unripe will have sweet and astringent taste and astringent taste is advised at last.

Quality of meal ingredients:
Just a precaution is needed not to mix extreme hot and spicy foods with extreme cold foods. Also, one has to keep in mind about wrong food combinations while planning meal ingredients.
For this reason, it is good to take fruits without mixing with other parts of meals.

So fruits should not be taken separately?
There is no rule that fruits should not be taken separately. As per Ayurveda, one should eat any food only when hungry. So, whenever one is hungry, she can eat fruits.
Even replacing entire meal just with fruit salad is also good. But it is best done by replacing breakfast or lunch, rather than dinner. Because, night time is naturally dominated by Kapha Dosha. Excess sweet fruits (or food) is not recommended at night.
Read related: Night food is very important. Watch what you eat at night

Best Fruits as per Ayurveda

Which Fruits I should be taking all the time? 
Answer by Dr JV Hebbar: 
Master Chakara and Master Sushruta – both have mentioned fruits as a separate unique category of eatables. Out of the fruits mentioned by them, two are Tridosha balancing. 
Pomegranate
Amla fruit – Indian gooseberry Tridosha balancing means, good for all. 

Grapes are praised as – Draksha Phalottama! Best among the fruits. No wonder modern scientists have extracted resveratrol from it, which is gaining ever-increasing  importance in preventive and anti aging medicine research. 

Apart from these,  
the fruits that are naturally grown in your place, (not exotic, native to your region), 
the fruits that grow in proper seasons are good. For example, Mango grown in summer is good, as it is the natural season for it. Mango of other season is considered unnatural. 

Based on the disease also, the choice of fruit can be made. 
Pomegranate for acid peptic disorders, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, IBS associated with Diarrhea. 
Banana for excessively tired, fatigued people with constipation 
Berries for brain health and healthy cholesterol
Guava for vitamin C 
Water melon for Pitta disorders etc. 
It is a good idea to mix and match different fruit combinations to your diet plan. 

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