Now here’s a personal question: Do you frequently suffer from bloating, gas and other digestion-related problems? It is possible that it’s not you, it’s the palak paneer. Eaten in certain combinations, these foods can get up to all kinds of mischief. We identify the guilty couples.
Our culture determines food pairings and some are clear winners. Milk with dates, rice with coconut, and curd with pulses complement each other perfectly and together they bump up the overall nutrition quotient of the meal. But not everything culture—or taste—dictates actually works for your body. Combinations like cottage cheese and spinach, beans and cheese, and yogurt and fruits, used commonly in Mexican and Indian cooking, can get in the way of efficient digestion. Scan our list of culprits to zero in on what’s making you feel less than sexy after a meal.
MANGO AND CUCUMBER
Suman Agarwal, nutritionist, Selfcare, Mumbai, says, “Mango being a fruit and cucumber being a vegetable require different digestive enzymes that tend to neutralise each other. In this process, they can cause gas and bloating.” As long as they’re not part of the same meal, you can enjoy both this season.
DAIRY PRODUCTS AND SPINACH
Does the thought of palak paneer make your mouth water? But it’s best to eat them separately. Suman says, “Spinach contains oxalic acid that prevents the body from absorbing calcium.” Next time try pairing spinach with lentils and mushroom, and cottage cheese with peas.
MILK AND PULSES
Baked beans with cereal and milk—this breakfast staple is not your friend. Suman says, “When milk is combined with pulses it hampers the digestion procedure and can lead to gas.” Switch milk with curd for a serving of gut-friendly probiotics that help break down food properly.
YOGURT AND SOUR FRUITS
While yogurt and fruits are both healthy in their own way, they don’t work as a team. Manisha Arora, head nutritionist, Three Graces, Delhi, says, “Combining sour fruits like kiwi and orange with yogurt diminishes the digestive fire in the gut.” To combat this, mix sour fruits with yogurt at room temperature and add a dash of cinnamon or honey to add warmth and keep your digestive system working like it should.
MILK AND ANTIBIOTICS
Taking antibiotics along with a glass of milk is a common practice, but not a good idea. Manisha explains, “For antibiotics to be effective they must be absorbed from the
gastrointestinal tract and make their way into the blood stream. Dairy products are rich in calcium that binds with the antibiotic and prevents its absorption in the gut, making the medicine ineffective.”
FIZZY DRINKS WITH FOOD
Taranjeet Kaur, senior nutritionist, AktivOrtho, Delhi, says, “Carbonated drinks shock the digestive system, slowing down the digestive process and causing gas and bloating.” Replace your fizzy drinks with buttermilk or coconut water at meal times.