How many of us have been warned against drinking a cup of milk soon after having fish in the meal? Well, it is the advice being passed on through generations. And this belief that having milk with or shortly after eating fish causes skin disease like leukoderma is popular not only in India but in other countries too.
So, what is the authenticity of this belief? Is there any truth or scientific evidence attached to it, or is it a mere superstition handed down to us?
The notion that having milk and fish together causes white patches on the skin is supported by ancient medicines like Indian Ayurveda and Arabian medicine. While these traditional medicines are a treasure house of knowledge and play a significant role in healing several diseases, this particular claim is not entirely valid.
Dr. Manoj Jain, Dermatologist, Navi Mumbai states that there is absolutely no scientific data that supports this claim. No study or research proves that having milk and fish together can cause white patches on the skin.
Let us see what leukoderma is and what the causes of this disease are.
What is leukoderma?
Leukoderma, also called vitiligo, is a skin disease that causes white patches to appear on the skin. It can affect any part of the body. It may focus on one part or may spread to other parts. The white patches result from the partial or complete destruction of the skin pigment melanin, which gives the skin its color.
What causes leukoderma?
Leukoderma is an autoimmune disorder, which means the faulty immune system of the body attacks its own cells and destroys them. Generally, leukoderma runs in families.
There is no correlation between diet and leukoderma in medical literature. So, there is no scientific proof to establish a relation between leukoderma and having milk and fish together.
Then why does our ancient medicine propagate this?
Ayurveda believes that certain types of food are incompatible and prohibits consuming such incompatible foods together. Well, there might be some logic that might have led to such beliefs. Let’s check them out!
- Some people are lactose intolerant. Drinking milk causes severe allergies in such people. Similarly, fish and other seafood cause allergies in some people. Hence Ayurveda advocates against having milk and fish together.
- Milk and fish are both high-protein foods. When these two protein-rich foods are consumed together, the body takes a lot of time to break the protein into simpler molecules. This is taxing on the digestive system.
- When you consume fish preparations that are high in spices and then subsequently have a glass of milk, there is acid reflux which causes indigestion and a bad stomach.
- Another reason Ayurveda claims is that fish is non-vegetarian food, whereas milk is vegetarian, rendering the combination incompatible. Consuming the duo together may upset the natural balance of the digestive system.
Over the years, there have been different and multiple reasons for this belief handed down across generations. But the fact remains that modern medicine does not support this theory. The reason is, for any theory to be proved, there has to be data and evidence. And, in this case, there is no evidence at all.
Not to forget that many cuisines all over the world, including the Mediterranean diet and Bengali fish curries, use curd in their preparations. There have been no reports of people contracting this disease after enjoying this cuisine.