There is no doubt monsoon showers come as a relief and are welcome after the scorching summer heat. But the bad news is that it also brings health problems like allergies, infections and indigestion.
High temperature and humidity are ideal conditions for the growth of microorganisms. This can cause diseases such as food poisoning, typhoid, jaundice which are food borne diseases. Also, this season is the peak for malaria, dengue because of water stagnation. But there is absolutely no need to panic, small variations in eating habits can keep problems at bay. Diet plays an important role not only in preventing the onset of such diseases but also help in curing the disease. Below are some tips and tricks which can help you keep these infections at bay:
Best foods for the monsoon
- Start your day with a warm and nutritious breakfast. A millet porridge made with organic ghee and some nut butter or assorted nuts is a good option. You may also eat warm Indian breakfasts like brown rice poha made with some ghee, vegetable upma, methi muthias, capsicum besan chilla, sweet potatoes, green peas and lots of Indian spices to fire up the digestive system.
- Choose to have good wholesome lunch like dals that are easier to digest, like moong and masoor dal. Adding ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel and asafoetida not only makes the food flavorful but improves digestion and immunity. Combining it with a variety of grains like red rice, black rice, millet or quinoa makes it even more tasty and nutrient dense. Add generous amounts of ghee and a vegetable dish like bhindi which has soluble fibers to help digestion, and you have yourself a winning monsoon lunch!
- Avoid heavy dairy which is very heavy to digest during the monsoon. Staying away from cold milk, curd, ice creams and cheese is the best way to keep yourself at low risk for getting a gut infection. You can have some boiled ginger tea as a digestive support with your meals. Eat lemon, limes, apples, cherries, pomegranate since they are astringents and reduce the monsoon’s impact on your body.
- Brew some tea to create the warmth. A good digestive tea can boost your immunity during the monsoon, here is my favourite tea for the monsoon days… Boil some ginger, a tablespoon each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds in two cups of water. Reduce the quantity to one cup. Strain and consume with your meal.
Nutrients you need to boost your immune system
- Protein: Protein is the most important macronutrient in the diet. Apart from the basic function of growth and development in children to the maintenance of wear and tear in elderly, it also helps in various functions, from building immunity to building and maintaining muscle mass, fighting infections to prevent as well as recover from illness and wound healing.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that also have immune-modulatory effects. In monsoon where the risk of infection through food and water increases, boosting immunity helps fight these infections to an extent. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in foods like fish, oysters, nuts and oilseeds like walnuts, pistachios, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that may help in preventing, treating respiratory disorders, body’s immunity to fight disease and systemic infections.
Some precautions you need to take:
- Eat small frequent meals but keep them light.
- Take more of fluids like fresh lime water, coconut water, buttermilk to replenish the salts and electrolytes lost in sweats.
- Foods high in protein get spoiled very fast in this weather due to high humidity and temperature. Keep dairy products and non-vegetarian items in proper temperatures. Non-veg items should be kept in frozen temperature, once thawed should not be frozen again.
- Build your immunity by eating loads of seasonal fruits and veggies rich in vitamin C to prevent infections.
- Take a lot of good bacteria or probiotics, present in curd, and other fermented foods as it builds the immune system response to fighting disease.
- Use a lot of Indian herbs like turmeric (haldi), coriander, fenugreek (methi), mustard, asafoetida (hing), ginger, curry leaves and garlic as all these help in boosting immunity. They also help in improving digestion and clear congestion.
- Maintain good hygiene by washing hands well before and after eating. Wash after using toilet.
- Avoid leaving food outside all day and consuming it at later after long hours of gap. Avoid eating leftovers at all. Since your digestion is weak, it will make it more sluggish, causing gas, bloating, acidity and indigestion.
- Exercise is very important during the monsoon. Have an active lifestyle and move your body every day with some form of exercise as this will help get your lymphatic system moving and make you less prone to infections or microbial attacks. Cold water may not be a good idea to have and a problem during this season, as it will cause the lymphatic system to get congested, making you more prone to infections.
Healthy Diet Tips for Rainy Season
- Eat Seasonal Fruits: Apples, jamuns, litchi, plums, cherries, peaches, papayas, pears and pomegranates are some of the best fruits you may add to your diet in rainy season to improve the immune system. Avoid watermelon and muskmelon.
- Avoid Salt: Lower down the salt intake as it may cause water retention and high blood pressure which may cause additional problems in monsoon.
- Avoid Watery Foods: Buttermilk, lassi, rice, watermelon etc. can cause swelling in the body. Avoiding such foods will take care of the water retention.
- Garlic: A hint of garlic in various dishes in your food will help in improving your immune system.
- Curd over Milk: Instead of milk, prefer curd or yogurt as it avoids any possibility of bad bacteria entering the body. Have it only at room temperature to avoid getting cold.
- Boil Water: Prefer only boiled or purified water. Avoid drinking tap water directly.
- Bitter is better: Vegetables like methi and bitter gourd, neem and turmeric as addition to the diet can help in preventing infections.
- Oils: Sesame, peanut, and mustard oil can invite infections thus prefer to use corn oil or light oil.
- Avoid Spicy Food: If you are prone to allergies, avoid spicy food as it increases body temperature and stimulates blood circulation which leads to the faster spread of allergies.
- Limit Meat: If you are a hard-core non-vegetarian, limit meat for a couple of months. Instead of heavy curry dishes of meat prefer soups and stew.
- Steam it: Avoid raw salad and make sure to steam it before eating during the rainy season.
- Herbal Warm Water: Those who suffer from infections and fever during rainy season can find relief with decoction prepared from ingredients like ginger, tulsi, and a dash of medicinal spices like cloves, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom.
- Avoid Street-Food: Pre-cut fruit, fried food, junk food or any street-food should be avoided completely.
I hope in this article all the given diet and nutritional tips along with timely preventive health check-up with your physician will help you to safeguard your health from the common monsoon diseases and enjoy the rainy season to the fullest. Enjoy the rains, have a safe and healthy Monsoon!
Monsoon showers come as a relief and are a welcome after the scorching summer heat. But is also brings along a lot of infections, allergies and indigestion. Here are some quick tips to stay healthy during this monsoon season:
- Start your day with a warm and nutritious breakfast.
- Choose to have good wholesome lunch.
- Avoid heavy dairy as it is very heavy to digest during monsoon.
- Brew some tea to create warmth.
- Eat small frequent meals. Include seasonal fruits in your meals.
- Take more of fluids like fresh lime water, coconut water, etc.
- Take a lot of good bacteria or probiotics.
- Avoid spicy street food and stick to steamed/ boiled food.