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The ayurvedic way and time to savour fruits
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The ayurvedic way and time to savour fruits

Ayurveda experts share the right method and time to consume fruits
Representational image| Shutterstock

Fruits are undoubtedly the most nutritious food. However, many people ask questions like what is the best time to eat fruits? When should I eat a particular fruit? What combination of fruits should I avoid? And what are best combinations to have?

Worry not, we have got all the answers, and more.

World Health Organization recommends adults to consume more than 400gm (i.e. five portions when considering 80gm as one serving) of fruits and vegetables per day to improve overall health. But to reap optimal benefits the fruits should be eaten in the right way and at the right time.

Ayurveda experts help us understand the right way and timings to consume fruits. Dr Pooja Shetty, founder of Ayushyaveda Ayurveda & Panchkarma Clinic, Ghatkopar East, Mumbai, says that when fruits are ripe and eaten in the correct season and climate, they are considered healthy.

“Fruits are comparatively heavier to digest than other meals but are nourishing and tissue-building. According to specific conditions and individual body type (prakriti), fruits are recommended as a part of the daily diet,” she adds.

Fruits and body type

Ayurveda experts assess the prakriti of an individual, categorise it into vata (air element), pitta (fire element), and kapha (water element) and prescribe personalised nutrition and dietary recommendations accordingly.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach in ayurvedic practices. Individualised approach for fruit consumption is key,” says Dr Likhith D Raju, ayurveda expert from Bengaluru. He advises considering the individual’s agni bala or digestive capacity to decide the right time, the right fruit, and the right amounts of consumption.

Dr Raju further explains that an individual with pitta prakriti can consume bananas whereas, those with cough and respiratory issues should be cautious. “Blindly following social media trends may lead to adverse health issues,” he warns.

Concurring to this, Dr Shetty explains that a vata person should opt for sweeter fruits to suit their lean build. Individuals with pitta prakriti must avoid acidic fruits as they may lead to inflammation. Kapha individuals should consume lighter fruits—citrus fruits such as oranges, and sweet lime, and avoid dense fruits like bananas, jackfruit and chikoo or sapota.

Ideal time to eat fruits

“Consume fruits at least two hours after a meal, ensuring that the food eaten is partially digested. Without proper digestion, the absorption of nutrients is compromised, rendering high-end nutrients becoming ineffective,” says Dr Raju. Moreover, one must refrain from eating fruits just before bedtime, he adds. Ideally, the last fruit consumed should be at least three hours before slumber.

Dr Shetty suggests incorporating fruits as midday snacks (probably at 11am and 4pm) as eating in this period is healthier compared to eating early in the morning or late at night. Due to the cooling properties of fruits, it is generally advised to avoid consuming them on an empty stomach in the morning.

For those with poor digestion, raw fruits always pose challenges. To address this, Dr Shetty suggests tailored additions such as orange or citrus fruits with a pinch of trikatu powder, which can aid digestion.

Experts say that you should avoid the common practice of consuming fruits immediately after meals. This habit can lead to a build-up of sugar or a sudden spike in glucose levels, which is detrimental for individuals with diabetes.

Ideal quantity

Ayurveda is individual-specific. There is no prescribed amount, such as a specific number of grams for fruits. “If one feels satisfied or full after eating a certain amount of fruit, it is ideal to stop. Typically, aiming for one bite less than fullness is advised,” says Dr Shetty.

Do not combine

Avoid combining fruits with milk and nuts. “The whole combination of fruit, milk and nuts is a high-energy source and becomes too heavy for the body to digest,” says Dr Shetty.

Experts recommend consuming one type of fruit at a time. It is not advisable to consume a variety of fruits simultaneously, says Dr Shetty. Ideally, it is recommended to stick to a single fruit, or at most, combine two. Avoid creating fruit bowls or salads as different fruits have varying digestion times.

Combining pineapples and apples or mixing pineapples with other fruits is not good for health, especially if digestion is impaired or slow, she adds. This may lead to formation of ama or toxin.

Different fruit varieties in rotation supports a better nutrition profile, says Dr Shetty.

Eat seasonally for maximum benefits

Opt for local, seasonal fruits for better health. The availability of fruits changes with the seasons and locations. “Choose fruits that are in season, as they are more suitable for your body’s needs and promote better digestion,” says Dr Shetty. In winter, include pomegranates and guavas in your diet.

Few precautions

Fruits are generally not recommended during fever as they are difficult to digest. However, it is safe to consume pomegranates, which are cardioprotective and easily digestible.

Additionally, fruits should be avoided during conditions involving phlegm, mucus build-up, or respiratory issues. “For those with acid reflux, sour fruits like pineapples and strawberries, even when ripened, may exacerbate the condition and trigger inflammation, making them unsuitable for individuals with acidity or certain skin conditions such as eczema,” warns Dr Shetty.

If you want to combine fruits and milk, you should combine mango with milk and no other fruits, say experts.

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