Eating Right During the Monsoons

Prachi Joshi

Welcome the monsoon showers in all its glory but don’t let it risk your health.

 The rains are here and have certainly arrived with a bang! As much as you’d love to welcome it with open arms, it’s important to remember that the season brings its fair share of health problems, diseases and infections. The sudden change in temperature takes its toll on our immunity, leaving our bodies susceptible to ailments. Making minor changes in your diet can go a long way towards boosting your immunity and keeping you healthy during the monsoons.

Immunity Boosters
Food plays an important part in boosting your immunity, along with exercise and adequate sleep. A healthy immune system requires a balance of various nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, essential fats, vitamins and minerals. Protein is especially helpful as it’s responsible for fighting infections by foreign bodies, by making the required antibodies. Apart from this, vitamins B complex, vitamins C & E and beta-carotene are necessary to keep the immune system in shape. Small amounts of minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, zinc and folic acid are also necessary. Incorporate some of these healthy foods in your diet, especially during the monsoons:

– Whole grains such as millets and oats
– Pulses and legumes, especially lentils and beans
– Walnuts and almonds
– Flax seeds, sunflower seeds and fenugreek seeds. (Adria Wu whips up a delicious Flax Seed Five Spice Chicken)
– Colourful veggies and fruits
– Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, hilsa etc.
– Probiotics such as yoghurt, buttermilk and lassi

Water Woes
Many infections during the monsoon are water-borne. Use a water purifier or boil the water for at least 10 minutes before drinking it. Avoid drinking water outside; always carry a small bottle of water with you. Avoid drinking cold drinks, especially the ice, as you never know what kind of water is used while making it. Apart from water-borne diseases, collection of stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes; malaria and dengue are quite common during the monsoons, so keep your surroundings clean and dry.

To eat or not to eat
Here are some tips on what you should eat and what to avoid during the monsoons:

  • Eat food that can be easily digested, such as sautéed veggies and salads, steamed dumplings, fruit, khichdi etc. Avoid raw salads and leafy vegetables.
  • Avoid leftover foods; refrigerate food and consume it the same day.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before use; avoid buying pre-cut fruits and veggies.
  • Avoid acidic, sour and salty foods as they lead to water retention, indigestion and acidity. Pickles, chutney, deep fried foods are all a no-no.
  • Use cooling oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil and avoid heavy and heating oils such as mustard oil and peanut oil. Use ghee instead of butter.
  • Make sure you eat out at clean and hygienic places only. Avoid roadside food and as far as possible have most meals at home.
  • Drinking warming liquids such as soups, broths, hot water with ginger and honey and green tea will help you fight infections.
  • So get monsoon-ready with these tips. Stay healthy and enjoy the rains!