In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a concept called 禁忌 (jìn jì). This usually refers to food, be it for medicinal purposes or everyday consumption, that should not go together or "clash" when taken together.
After seeing so much misinformation out there about bird's nests and what to (or not to) take it with, it prompted me to share more about what not to take with bird's nests so you can be sure to maximise your nutrients (and money). After all, bird's nests isn't exactly the cheapest thing and consuming it wrongly might lead to ineffective results.
Most people should know by now that the best time to take bird's nests is either the first thing in the morning or at the last thing at night for best absorption. But do you know what not to eat bird's nests with?
Avoid Coffee and Tea
The acidity in tea affects the protein and nutrient structure of bird's nests. The tannins in tea clump with protein and iron, thereby reducing the body's absorption of protein and iron. The main components of bird's nests is glycoprotein such as collagen and sialic acid, which affects your nutrient absorption. So, if you see advertisements or brands pairing tea with bird's nests, runnnnnnn! They likely have no real knowledge of bird's nests if they ask you to pair bird's nests with tea.
It is best to have your bird's nests after 1 hour of having your coffee or tea.
Avoid Oily Food
Bird's nest is rich in high-quality glycoprotein. There is a saying in TCM "以清配清，以柔配柔", loosing translated to pairing light food with light. It is best to not pair bird's nests with oily or greasy food. It will increase the burden on your digestive system and affects the absorption of bird's nests, causing indigestion and affecting the absorption of bird's nest.
Avoid Acidic Food
As mentioned previously, the acidity in tea affects the protein and nutrient structure of bird's nests and can lead to indigestion. Every gram of bird's nests is precious, so do not waste it by taking it with acidic food. Some example of acidic food includes citrus fruits, plum, hawthorn.
While it is fine to take bird's nests while you are on medication, it is best to have them 1-2 hours apart to avoid any adverse reaction. Of course, it is best to clear it with your doctor. This applies to both Chinese and Western medicines.
Avoid Food with Protease
Protease is an enzyme that catalyzes proteolysis which breaking down proteins. As we know by now, bird's nests main nutrient component is a glycoprotein, and taking bird's nests with protease would be as good as not taking it. Some examples of food with protease include kiwi, papaya, asparagus, yogurt.
Too much to remember?
The best time to take bird's nests is first thing in the morning upon waking up, and avoid eating anything within an hour of that.
That should be easy to remember without having to remember this whole list above! Another way is to take your bird's nests right before you are about to go to bed. Both are the best times to allow your body to maximise nutrient absorption!