Ayurveda explains yoghurt as having the mixed properties of sour and sweet. It increase Kapha dosha in the body, the effects of which, namely mucous generation, is also attributed to the effects of Kapha.
During the night, when there is natural predominance of Kapha in the body, yoghurt consumption at night will further increase Kapha leading to many complications. This is quite similar to exposing yourself to hot sun in the afternoon, which is not recommended, because, the afternoon is naturally a Pitta predominant period and sun exposure also increases Pitta.
The Qualities of Yoghurt
Yoghurt is sour in taste, hot in potency, heavy to digest (takes a longer period to undergo digestion). It increases fat, strength, kapha, pitta, digestive power.
The Dos and Dont’s
Whenever there is swelling or inflammation, consuming yoghurt will worsen the inflammation. Note, however, that these properties are attributed to sour yoghurt.
Sour yoghurt should not be consumed by making it hot (ushna).
Yoghurt should not be consumed at night (nishi),
It should also not be consumed during spring and summer seasons.
However, sour yoghurt mixed in a soup with green gram, honey, ghee, sugar and amla is helpful in relieving dysurea (difficulty in urination) and indigestion.
Aim to avoid consuming yoghurt at night, because night is basically a Kapha predominant period, thus consuming yoghurt at night is best avoided according to Ayurveda. Yoghurt also increases Pitta. Hence, taking it at night might cause indigestion problem.
If you are accustomed to consuming yoghurt at night, (old habits die-hard!) mix a small pinch of pepper powder to the yoghurt and consume. Do not add too much, as it may cause burning sensations.
You may also try adding fenugreek powder if you can tolerate a slight tinge of bitterness. This superb combination will relieve all kinds of stomach pain generated due to indigestion.
The Benefits of Buttermilk
Buttermilk is best substitute for yoghurt at night.
Buttermilk clears the channel and checks mucus secretion.
Rules for using yoghurt as mentioned in Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 7
- One should not take yoghurt at night;
- If one desires to take yoghurt at night, it can be taken along with ghee, sugar, green gram soup, honey or amalaka (amla: Indian gooseberry).
- It should not be consumed hot.
- If one does not follow these rules s/he is likely to suffer from diseases such as fever, bleeding disorders (raktapitta), erysipelas (visarpa), skin diseases (kushta), anemia (pandu), dizziness (bhrama) and jaundice (kamala).[61-62]
- If you are consuming yoghurt in the morning, then eating it without sugar is better.
- If you are consuming yoghurt at night, it is not recommended as per Ayurveda. But having it with little sugar is better, if you cannot resist it.