Eating Fruits 101: After a Meal or Before; Can Banana Shakes Stay?
Most Indian households have the tradition of pulling out a deep bowl or long tray of fruits immediately after a meal. You’d be lying if you said you didn’t tuck into that plate of mangoes after dinner on a summer night. Or how about some melons after lunch?
Now, we as Indians, have accepted this as a staple. Yet, new-age dieting lingo seems to disagree with the idea of eating fruits immediately after a meal. When you dig deeper, the idea of fruits close to a meal disrupting digestion emerges. So do contested beliefs about banana shakes. Did you hear about how you should stay away from mixing different kinds of fruits? Does it also extend to mixing fruits with vegetables? In that case, what happens to our dear, old salads? Should we eat fruits and salads after a meal, before or during?
...as you can imagine, the questions are endless. So, we got two nutritionists to answer them.
1. Fruits and Meals
There are lots of myths, propositions and ideas about how you should not have fruits immediately after a meal. The sugar and carbohydrates in your fruits along with that of the meal and bacteria in the stomach is supposed to lead to fermentation. This, in turn, will disrupt your digestive system. Nutritionist Dr Rupali Datta busts this myth and says:
Most fruits are rich in vitamin C and aid digestion. Fruits are recommended as snacks in between meals instead of eating them immediately after a meal, but that’s a recommendation. Also, basic common sense also helps. Like if you’re eating watermelons in winters then you’re definitely asking for trouble, but otherwise, it’s okay to eat fruits before or after meals.
Nutritionist Kavita Devgan agrees and says that if you’re not having fruits as a snack, keep a gap of at least 30 minutes between them and your meals.
Dr Rupali also draws attention to how Ayurveda advises that there should be a significant time gap between meals and fruits. In that case, she adds, where you are following a practical therapy, stick to all its rules for at least three months to see how your body takes to it.
2. Fruits and Milk
When we talk about combinations with fruits (weird or not), another one to come to mind is with milk. However, both Devgan and Dr Datta say to go ahead with your banana or apple milkshakes.
Banana shake, popular in most households (thankfully, still) is a combination masterstroke. Inulin, a type of fibre present in banana, actually helps absorb calcium from the milk better. Similarly apples work well with milk too. Now that’s a match made in heaven for sure! Just avoid mixing melons and berries with milk.Kavita Devgan
Dr Rupali reiterates the last bit by drawing attention to how food items too high in their citrus content should not be mixed.
3. Fruits With Other Kinds of Fruits
All fruits leave an alkaline ash, points out Dr Datta. Therefore mixing different kinds of fruits (namely acidic, neutral and sugary) might be a concern if you have an underlying medical condition like ulcers or hyperacidity. However, beyond that, there really isn’t a problem.
Kavita too gives the green light.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
Sometimes after eating fruits and vegetables, people end up with stomach trouble. Dr Rupali points out that this is mostly due to the food not being clean. When opting for raw food items like fruits and vegetables, ensure that they are nicely washed. Beyond that, there is no problem in mixing fruits and vegetables, she affirms.
In a similar vein, Kavita adds:
Bottomline? Listen to your body, pay attention to what works for it and what does not, consult a health expert if need be, and most importantly, continue to chomp away on them fruits if you’re an average, healthy person.
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