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. 

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.
fruit with 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.

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

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  1. MRamakrishna Sharma says:

    ” Can fruits be………..” is one of your best articles. Of course all articles are useful. In our region popular saying is ” hasidu halasu undu mavu”. My uncle ( he passed away in 1976) was an Ayurvedic doctor by name Honnavalli Rama Sastry. He was doctor with qfn: Ayurveda Visharada & Kaviraja, now a days it is not heard of. He used to advice us as mentioned earlier. It is useful for me to note that undu bale is also there, meaning banana has to be eaten after taking meal.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Thank you very much for your encouraging words sir.
      Especially when one has spicy foods, or for a person with constipation, it is best to have banana at the end of meals. Nice to know about Ayurveda Visharada and Kaviraja Honnavalli Rama Sastry. 🙂

  2. Manisha says:

    I have also read in some articles that sweet fruit should not be combined with acidic fruits, eg banana should not be combined with berries or with orange. How much is this true. I used to make berry and banana smoothie. Is it ok to make that. Can we combine all sorts of fruits with each other and make smoothies.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, it is fine to mix sweet fruits with sour fruits. Just that sour things should not be mixed with milk.

  3. Sir…. Is there any incompatibility of two fruits or can we take any two or three fruits together..??
    And some dietitian prefer cooked apple,pears or banana.. Is it right way of consuming fruit??
    Does AYURVEDA prefer cooking of fruit..??

  4. THANK you Sir..

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