Don’t have curd at night you will catch a cold. Stop eating curd if you have a cold. Curd at night will form acidity. I am sure you have heard all these lines often in daily life. Are they true? What is the scientific basis of these? Can you have curd at night? Can you have a curd during the cold? Does curd form acidity? Let’s get into the scientific explanation. Read the blog till the end and clear all your doubts.
Curd or dahi is a fermented milk product that we are enjoying since childhood. You need some starter (active bacterial culture- which is old curd in most of the cases), warm milk, and a warm, dry place to set the curd at home.
Why you should not avoid curd even at night?
Let’s first have a look at its nutritional profile to understand its benefits better.
The nutritional profile of curd (cow’s milk) vs cow’s milk (per 100 g)
|Curd (cow’s milk)||Cow’s milk|
|Energy||60 kcal||67 kcal|
|Carbohydrate||3.0 g||4.4 g|
|Protein||3.1 g||3.2 g|
|Fat||4.0 g||4.1 g|
|Calcium||149 mg||120 mg|
|Phosphorous||93 mg||90 mg|
|Iron||0.2 mg||0.2 mg|
|Folic acid||12.5 ug||8.5 ug|
Data source – Nutritive value of Indian foods, C Gopalan, NIN –ICMR, 2016
Curd has multiple health benefits even at night–
- It is high in protein and low in calorie & carbohydrate. Therefore curd is a good food choice for people who are trying to lose weight. Instead of having creamy dip or soft drinks or dessert items post dinner, try having curd dip, buttermilk or curd- sugar as a healthy, low calorie option.
- Curd is a good source of calcium, phosphorus and folic acid which helps to keep your bone, teeth and blood in good health.
- Curd is a fermented product, a probiotic which feeds your healthy bacteria located in the intestine. Research suggests fermented foods are good for your gut health and shown promising result in terms of fixing gastrointestinal problems, constipation etc. (2) (3)
- Consuming 80-125 g of curd everyday helps to prevent development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.(1)
- Homemade curd has all the probiotic characteristics which help to cure irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). (9)
Why should you avoid curd specifically at night?
The ayurvedic view –
As per ayurveda, the curd is heavy to digest and hot in nature. Since our digestion gets weaker post-sunset, having curd at night may be difficult to digest and disturb your sleep.
Apart from this, curd pacifies vata dosha but increases pitta and kapha dosha. It triggers mucous formation and creates an imbalance in doshas.
What does science say?
Studies found no statistical significance to establish the relationship between consumption of curd or any dairy product and increase production of mucous in healthy adults with or without symptomatic or asymptomatic nasal infection. (4)
In short, there is no proof that eating curd at night or at any time can increase your mucous production for a healthy adult.
Curd, histamine, and mucous formation – A deeper look
Curd contains histamine. In fact, curd is one of the high histamine-containing food. (5) Histamine triggers the hypersecretion of mucous.
Therefore the common belief that curd increase mucous secretion is partially true specifically when the person is down with cough, cold, and allergy for more than 2 weeks.
However, don’t jump to a conclusion early. You also need to know a few other facts.
Don’t think the formation of mucous is always bad. In fact, mucous helps to keep our nasal route clean. It actually prevents any pathogen to enter our body. In general, our body generates 1 to 1.5 liters of mucous every day.
During infection/ allergy the mucous formation automatically increased.
What is histamine?
Histamine is a chemical that is present in almost all the tissues of our body. It is also found in other animals’ bodies as well as in plants. Therefore we also get histamine from food as well.
Whenever some foreign body (pollen/ dust/ food chemical/virus/bacteria/fungus etc) attacks our body, histamine secretes from mast cells and to some extent from the basophile (white blood cells) as a natural immune response.
Histamine triggers allergic symptoms like secretion of tears, itching, excess secretion of mucous, swelling, redness, etc.
No matter how annoying these symptoms are, they help to fight the infection/ allergy better and prevent the worsening of the situation.
We have histamine balancing mechanisms in our bodies. On one hand, our body secretes histamine whereas, on the other hand, an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) helps to break down the histamine to maintain checks and balances.
The problem starts when the histamine secretion rate goes higher than the rate of breakdown. As a result, you continue to experience the allergic symptoms – hypersecretion of mucous/ itching/ redness/ swelling/ tears, etc. Sometimes it may happen due to deficiency of DAO. It is important to shut the histamine secretion when the crisis is over.
This is the time when your body tries hard to deal with excess histamine. An antihistamine diet helps to calm this situation.
Not only curd, foods which are high in histamine – other fermented foods (pickle, sauerkraut, etc), banana, wine, avocado, eggplant, raisin, cashew, almond, citrus fruits, tomato, chocolate, etc – are to be avoided to bring down the histamine level and control the unwanted allergic symptoms. (6)
Does curd cause acidity at night?
Everyone has a different capacity to digest food at a particular point in time. Circadian cycle and sleep influence your digestion. (7) Therefore few may be able to digest curd easily at night whereas few may struggle to do the same.
Curd set from full-fat milk is difficult to digest compared to curd of low-fat milk. Therefore, it has been seen, people having full-fat curd at night sometimes experience more acidity than people who consumed low-fat curd at night.
Otherwise, probiotic like low-fat curd especially buttermilk is generally soothing to treat acidity, GERD, heartburn, regurgitation, indigestion, etc even at night. (8)
Who should avoid curd at night?
- If you are lactose intolerant
- If you have milk allergy
- If you generally have poor digestion capacity
- If you have only full fat curd
- If you are suffering from cough, cold, allergy for more than 2 weeks
How to have curd at night?
- Have homemade curd or buttermilk set from double toned milk for easy digestion
- Ayurveda suggests, having curd with pinch of rock salt and black pepper or, with some methi powder or with ghee, amla or honey.
- You can have curd banana as early supper as home remedy for constipation
- If you have sweet tooth post dinner and trying for weight loss, have buttermilk or a small bowl of curd with a tsp of jaggery or honey
- You may have curd rice as early dinner
Can a baby have curd at night?
If the baby is not lactose intolerant, does not have a milk allergy, and does not suffer from any chronic cough and cold, then he or she can have curd at night. Give homemade curd set from double-toned milk for easy digestion.
Can pregnant women have curd at night?
Acidity, heartburn is common during pregnancy. If the pregnant woman is not lactose intolerant or not have any milk allergy or does not suffer from chronic cough and cold, she may have curd at night. It’s best to give her buttermilk after early dinner. Set the curd at home using double-toned milk for easy digestion.
Can you eat curd and banana at night?
Curd and banana are a popular combination especially for those suffering from constipation. If you have no allergy or lactose intolerance, you can have banana and curd as supper.
Homemade curd is very healthy. It’s a good source of protein, micronutrients, and probiotics. Do not avoid having curd at night unless you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy. You may skip curd at night if you are suffering from chronic cough and cold for more than 2 weeks to reduce the histamine load of your diet. Otherwise, enjoy low-fat homemade curd or buttermilk at night. You will be fine.