The monsoons are here, bringing refreshing rains and much-needed relief from the sweltering summer. But this season also brings a spectrum of health problems. From seasonal colds, flu, typhoid, mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and stomach infections are very common in monsoon. In addition, monsoon-related illnesses in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, which is already wreaking havoc on your health, can further disturb your overall health. Therefore, you need to make sure that the foods you eat have the right balance of nutrition and immunity.
Boosting the immune system is the main mantra in the current scenario, helping the body build resistance and fight infection. Practicing mindful eating behaviors, choosing seasonal foods, staying physically active, and being positive is the best way to maintain good health status.
Also read: 5 Natural Remedies To Beat Monsoon Ailments – Infographic
According to the holistic science of Ayurveda, the concept of eating balanced meals according to the seasons is known as ritucharya, which acclimate the immune system and the mind according to the needs of the season. This practice is considered healthy and efficient in preventing disease, especially during seasonal changes. So in order to stay disease free, it is essential to follow a ritucharya diet which allows for the addition of certain foods to the diet and with an emphasis on avoiding certain foods.
Read through this article to get an overview of the best foods to add to your diet during monsoon season, which will help boost immunity and keep infections at bay.
Foods To Include In Your Monsoon Diet
Some of the food groups that should be adequately included in the meal plan include:
Drinking plenty of safe, drinkable water is just as important as consuming hot, freshly made kadha, concoctions, herbal teas, broths, and soups. These drinks hydrate the electrolyte balance, detoxify the system and are essential for building a robust immune system.
Adding seasonal fruits such as jamun, pears, plums, cherries, peaches, papayas, apples and pomegranates supports meeting the increasing demand for nutrients such as vitamins A, C, antioxidants and fiber. These fruits help improve digestion, maintain intestinal flora and activate the immune response.
Monsoon is the time of gourds such as butternut squash, bitter gourd, ash gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd and other vegetables that are available in abundance including cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, okra and radishes. Adding these vegetables liberally to your regular diet plan promotes good gut health and immune activity.
Also read: Turmeric – the spice of life for this monsoon season
Spices and herbs such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg contain anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and immune-boosting activities. They work amazingly well to support the immune system by regulating immune cells such as T cells that help the body fight off the pathogens. Add these spices liberally to your regular cooking during this weather and improve your overall health.
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You should have them every season to maintain good physical and mental health.
Loaded with a wealth of nutrients, garlic is best known for combating the common ones cold and flu and activates your immunity. Even studies show that adding garlic to your daily diet increases blood T cells, protecting you from viral attacks. Allicin is the most potent bioactive compound in garlic that is packed with medicinal properties and enhances the system’s disease-fighting response.
Powerful antiseptic, antiviralTurmeric’s antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties naturally activate your immune system and fight infection. Drinking turmeric milk or adding this golden spice powder to your daily meal is an excellent way to improve your overall health. Turmeric is a solid remedy for all your monsoon-related illnesses.
Fermented foods like yogurt, buttermilk and pickled vegetables are good sources of probiotics that help keep your gut flora healthy. Probiotics are good bacteria that help ward off disease-causing pathogens and other harmful bacteria from the system.
With the goodness of vitamin C, potent antioxidant lemons are a great addition to your monsoon diet, helping to boost immune response and keep infections at bay. Simply sprinkle lemon juice on your food, add lemon zest to any dish or drink a glass of lemonade, this citrus fruit takes care of your nutrition and health.
Foods to Avoid During Monsoon
There are several unhealthy eating habits that you should avoid, as these eating habits are more likely to increase your risk of infection during the monsoon season.
Avoid eating food in restaurants and street food stalls, as the temperature during monsoons is ideal for the growth of bacteria and fungi and there is an increased risk of food and water infections.
Avoid eating fried foods
It is fine to occasionally eat fried foods such as samosa or pakoras in moderate amounts during this season as having these foods in excessive amounts can lead to various gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, bloating, diarrhea and other problems. Also, be careful not to reuse fried oil as it can be toxic to your health.
Do not wash vegetables
This season’s temperature and humidity favor the growth of bacteria and fungi, especially on leafy green vegetables. So it is important to wash these vegetables thoroughly and cook them over high heat before eating them.
The risk of water pollution is high this season, making fish and seafood vulnerable carriers of infections. Therefore, it is best not to eat seafood during monsoons.