Don't Make These Mistakes When Eating Fruit This Summer, Says An Ayurvedic Expert
Who doesn't love a fresh smoothie or a tasty fruit salad once the weather gets warmer? Fruit is a summertime staple, but as we all flock to the produce aisles for berries, watermelon, and more, there are a few Ayurvedic food rules that can help us get the most of our sweet treats. Here's what the ancient Indian health philosophy says about everyone's favorite summertime staple:
Eat fruit by itself.
In Ayurveda, the key thing to remember when eating fruit is to eat it by itself, according to Ayurveda counselor Sara Garofalo. Garofalo explains that you wouldn't necessarily want to grab a piece of fruit right after dinner, for example.
Once you do, "The digestive system wants to digest the fruit faster because that's the easiest kind of sugar [to digest]," she tells mbg of the Ayurvedic reasoning behind eating your fruit separately from meals. This can interrupt the digestion of the rest of the food in your stomach, she explains, leading to bloating and discomfort.
Limit fruit consumption to 2 to 3 hours before and after meals.
Naturally, the follow-up question to the first rule is how long you need to wait before enjoying your fruit. According to Garofalo, two to three hours is the ideal window. So, if you were to eat breakfast at 8 a.m., you could have some fruit as a snack around 10 to 11 a.m., then wait another two to three hours before eating lunch.
Avoid certain fruit combinations.
And lastly, when you do eat fruit, Garofalo explains that in Ayurveda, fruits come in four main categories. You can eat different fruits within one category, but you wouldn't want to eat an orange (acid) and banana (sweet) at the same time, she notes. The biggest category to avoid combining with other fruits is melons, she adds. They should always be eaten alone.
Here's a quick rundown of the categories:
- Acid fruits: Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, etc) , pineapples, and tomatoes
- Sub-acid fruits: Apples, apricots, berries, grapes, kiwi, peaches, pears, and plums
- Sweet fruits: Bananas, coconuts, and dried fruits
- Melons: Cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon
Mixing dairy with fruit is also not advised in Ayurveda, with an exception being berries, Garofalo explains, because of their low sugar content.
We don't typically think of fruit as being something that upsets our digestion or causes discomfort, but in Ayurveda, these fruit-eating rules have stood the test of time for optimal digestion. Try spacing out your fruit consumption throughout the day and packing your fruit salads with options that fall into the same category, and see if you notice a difference in how you feel.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.