Monsoon Health Guide: What to Eat and What Not

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Monsoon showers do come as a relief but also bring with them health irritants like allergies, infections and indigestion. There’s no need to panic, say experts, who suggest small variations in eating habits to keep problems at bay. The increased humidity in atmosphere takes a toll on the body’s digestion. Some dietary and lifestyle changes can help sort this out.

10 FOODS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DIET:

  1. Garlic:

Packed with antioxidants, these cloves are rich with immunity boosting properties. Plus, they ease your digestive system while ensuring that your metabolic rate does not spiral down to a snail pace. While you can add crushed garlic pods to any food of your choice, one of the tastiest and healthiest ways of enjoying garlic is garlic rasam. A spicy concoction enriched with the pungent flavors of garlic and black pepper, it can be enjoyed along with rice or as a hot cup of soup.

  1. Ginger:

Ginger tea – this is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about rain! The fiery nature of ginger verves up your mood and at the same time boosts your metabolism. Grate some fresh ginger into a mug of warm water and squeeze in a lemon. Mix 1 tsp of honey. Your daily dose of immune boosting supplement is ready!

  1. Pears:

Not much is talked about the immunity boosting potential of pears. However, it is really amazing to know that this crispy fruit is a treasure trove of assorted vitamins and minerals, all which actually shield you from diseases commonly floating around during the monsoon. Along with being a good source of fiber, the crunchy off white fruit contains a good quantity of copper, vitamin C, and vitamin B12. Pear is a natural antipyretic agent as it helps in cooling the body and thereby easing the fever. So, just make sure you drink a glass of freshly squeezed pear juice or munch on some fresh fruit to get relief from fever.

  1. Turmeric:

This golden yellow hued spice powder is a well-accepted immunity boosting agent. It is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic agent too. And, that is one of the reasons you are forced to drink turmeric infused milk when you get a bout of cough or fever! Turmeric is also known to keep the levels of blood sugar under control. You can drink a glass of milk with ½ teaspoon milk with 1 tsp honey in to safeguard yourself from monsoon illnesses.

  1. Black Pepper:

Just add a zing of black pepper to your omelette or soups or even to your khichdi! These fiery black beads are not just tasty, but come with an awesome dose of good health. A natural antidote for fever, cough, cold, muscular pain, flu, and various respiratory conditions, black pepper is a must include rainy season food. Make a spicy pepper soup with a tamarind base or just mix ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper powder with equal quantities of turmeric powder and 2 tsp honey to milk and drink for healthy monsoon.

  1. Almonds:

The crunchy, brown skinned nuts are good sources of protein. Quite low on fat, almonds are packed with various nutrients that are beneficial for your health. This tasty nut enhances your digestive fire, keeps your sugar levels under control, and offers a powerful shield from various diseases. Plus, it is a great snack to munch on while you are on your weight loss regimen plus ensures that are at the pink of your health.

  1. Apples:

The saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away is perfectly applicable in this scenario. Munch an apple everyday as a part of your balanced, healthy diet. Available in countless variants – Washington, Shimla, Fuji, Granny Smith – apples contains various elements that offer a good cover for you from various health conditions that are always on the prowl during the rains. It also makes sure that your digestive system is functioning properly.

  1. Pomegranate:

I love this ruby like nibbles! A perfect inclusion in a healthy diet, it is packed with vitamins, especially vitamin C, that ensures that the protein in your body is properly metabolized. This, in turn, ensures that your digestive system is healthy and clean. It also peps up the immunity power, thus helping you combat the various illnesses.

  1. Beetroot:

Just stir fry grated beets with grated carrots and season it with a little cumin seeds and freshly ground black pepper! You can add 10 to 12 toasted almonds to it and your perfect meal is ready! Packed with the goodness of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, including potassium, fibre, and folic acid, beets are amazingly low in calories. It is an ideal veggie when it comes to detoxifying your body. You can have a glass of beetroot juice everyday during the monsoon to revive and revitalize your stamina and keep you healthy during the monsoon.

Foods to Avoid this Monsoon

Have the monsoon showers got you reaching out for that cup of garam chai and a steaming plate of pakodas? Halt right there! While the rain may bring you respite from the scorching heat, it also brings with it a series of infections and the occasional flu. It is important to arm ourselves against these ailments to make the most of the lovely weather. So before you set out on a long drive to that cosy, obscure café that serves chai and snacks just the way you like them, read through this list of food items you should avoid in the rainy season.

Leafy Vegetables:

It may seem counter intuitive because all our lives we have been instructed about the importance of eating leafy vegetables. However, in the monsoon, they are best avoided. The grime and dampness present in them makes them highly susceptible to germs. Say no to vegetables like spinach, cabbage and cauliflower this season. Instead, go for pungent vegetables like bitter gourd, ghiya, tori or tinda. Make sure all vegetables are thoroughly washed and cooked well.

Fresh Juice and Fruit from Roadside Vendors:

Any fresh food items that have had a long exposure to the monsoon air should be avoided. Roadside vendors have the fruits cut up well in advance, which could have come in contact with contaminated air. Stick to fresh fruit juice prepared at home and consume it instantly.

Quick Tip: Even at home, make sure you don’t leave cut fruits out for very long. Any prolonged exposure to the air can cause contamination. Cut it fresh and consume immediately.

Sea Food:

Monsoon is the breeding season for fish and prawns so they are best avoided this time of the year. Stick to chicken and mutton to satiate your craving for non-vegetarian food. However, if it absolutely essential to have sea food, make sure you only consume the freshest variety of it, taking extra care to cook them well.

Fried Food:

Yes, you read that right. Fried food is one of the food items you should absolutely avoid this rainy season and science backs me up on this too. The highly humid monsoon weather causes our digestion process to slow down. However irresistible that spread of pakodas, samosas and kachodi may seem, they could cause gastronomical complications like bloating and stomach upset. Extra salty food also causes water retention.

Dr. Simran Saini, nutritionist at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, recommends, “I would strongly advise everyone to stay away from street food, especially items like gol gappa where water is used. The season brings with itself lots of bacteria and insects, which can cause severe infection.”

Fizzy Drinks:

Fizzy drinks reduce minerals in our body, which in turn leads to reduction of enzyme activity. This is highly undesirable with an already weak digestive system. Keep a bottle of water or nimbu paani handy or stick to warm beverages like ginger tea. Your digestive system will thank you for it.

Similarly, Dr. Saini also says, “This season renders our digestive system sensitive. I would advise everyone to go easy on dairy products too as they can take a toll on digestion. Instead, go for nimbu paani or shikanjvi. Plenty of boiled, clear water should be consumed.”

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