Milk forms an intrinsic part of an Indian diet and is referred as complete food. It is often enjoyed as a stand-alone beverage or with spices like Haldi, and as part of various desserts and curries as well. Loaded with nutrients like protein, Vitamin A, B1, B2, B12, and D, potassium and magnesium, milk is said to be one of the most nutritious beverages one can have. It is also one of the best sources of proteins for vegetarians. Milk is regarded as a complete food because of its rich content of protein, fat, carbohydrates, all known vitamins and various minerals essential for sustaining life and maintaining good health. Milk also occupies a special place in Ayurveda, for its nutritional and digestive properties.

But according to Ayurvedic wisdom, to reap maximum health benefits of milk, one should know how to drink it. And according to the ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies‘, by Dr. Vasant Lad, all sour fruits, bananas, mangoes and melons, should never be blended with milk and yogurt.

“Particularly to be avoided are concoctions like banana milkshakes or fruit smoothies made with milk.” It further goes on to explain why bananas and milk are to be avoided together, “Bananas with milk can diminish agni (gastric fire) and change the intestinal flora, resulting in toxins and causing sinus congestion, cold, cough, allergies, hives and rash,” mentions the book

According to Ayurveda, there are also specific time phases in a day when you can drink milk to reap its maximum benefits, and when you should particularly avoid it. Here’s what the experts have to say.

Ayurvedic expert Dr. Ashutosh Gautam says, “There are 2 schools of thought, if you want milk for building up your body, then you should have it in the morning otherwise its advised to have it at night. For further benefits, you can have it with tonic such as ashwagandha which induces better sleep and boosts memory or even triphala which is good for your eye.”

According to Dr. Dhanvantri Tyagi, “Milk is considered to be one of the best foods according to Ayurveda and everybody should have it daily and no specific time can harm much. But the best time is often considered from evening till the bed time.”

He adds, “One may want to avoid it in the mornings. According to ancient beliefs, Milk consumed right in the morning, becomes quite heavy to digest. It also makes you lethargic. Even in the present day and age, when you are starting your mornings with a heavy exercise routine, people who drink milk often complain of having acidity. We generally do not recommend milk to people above 5 years in the morning. It is also advised to not have salty foods along with milk. For instance namkeen or paratha with chai or bread butter with milk in the morning or evening can cause heaviness in the tummy.”

Ayurveda strongly recommends having milk in the evening or night time for its incredible digestive properties. In addition to its many health and beauty benefits, drinking milk, promotes Ojas. Ojas is referred to as a state in Ayurveda that is achieved when you achieve proper digestion. Milk also has sedative properties, so drinking milk before bedtime may also help you calm down and the serotonin content in the milk will help in inducing a good and sound sleep. Apart from this, milk is packed with calcium and due to the low activity levels in the night, calcium is easily absorbed by the body. The high protein content may also prove beneficial for those who are trying to gain body mass, as during night the wear and tear is the least. Ayurveda for the longest time has espoused the idea of having milk during the night for its digestive and sedative properties. You may want to have your glass of milk late in the evening to be ona safer side. Either way, you must never miss out on having this wondrous beverage.