We all love the rain and the way it pours and makes everything green and beautiful. But our health can take a turn for the worse in this weather — and It is better to be safe than sorry. The good news is, that you can do that by just changing what you put on your plate. Here are a few smart and very easy ‘to do’s’.
Eat Foods with Low Water Content
Unlike summers when foods inherently high in water content (watermelon, cucumber) are advised, during monsoons, foods with low water content (besan, bhutta, dry veggies) are recommended. In fact, corn kernels and corn atta are perfect, as they are loaded with both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Have More Easy-To-Digest Food
Stick to easy to digest foods (read no fried foods) as body's digestion capability is compromised in this season due to high humidity. For the same reason, keep spices also a bit on the lower side. Avoid sour things, as they lead to water retention, intensifying the body’s water retention abilities during this time.
Include Food That Boosts Immunity
Around this time, infections are on an all time high and immunity is on an all time low. Include foods like garlic, onions, haldi (turmeric), fenugreek seeds (methi) and bitter gourd (karela) in your diet daily. The latter’s blood-purifying properties will help keep infections at bay. Plus, it’s a good digestive agent as it stimulates the secretion of gastric juices that keeps constipation (a common problem during the rains) at bay.
Make Seasonal Foods Your Go-To Snack
Stick to seasonal foods. Buy fresh items and nip the temptation of gorging on junk food. Skip salads and leafy greens, or wash them thoroughly well before digging in.
Continue to hydrate yourself, even if you don't feel thirsty. Often when the temperatures go down, our thirst meter gets fooled and we cut down on the amount of water we drink. But the truth is that it is all the more important to have your mandatory eight glasses of water daily during the rains — as you sweat excessively too.
Stock up on Antioxidant-Rich Food
Boost immunity consciously. Have lots of green tea to up your antioxidant stock. Eat more quercetin-rich foods, as this compound is a known platelet booster. More platelets in the body are always good for immunity. Add cocoa, cranberry juice, lemon juice, spinach, apple, prunes, peppers, red grapes, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, sprouts and citrus fruits.
Take Care of Your Gut
Probiotics help keep the gut healthy and help boost the immunity immensely. In fact, the health of our immune system depends immensely on the state of our gastro-intestinal system, so steeling up the gut is a good idea. Daily probiotics can help restore the natural state of health — that a diet of excess sugar, meat, processed foods and prescription drugs may have destroyed — and keep seasonal viruses away. Have fermented foods, probiotic milk, ice creams, home made dahi, kimchi, miso soup, buttermilk, idli, dosa, appam, dhokla, uttapam, kanji, homemade pickles and chutneys.
Hygiene Is Key
Don't take chances with food hygiene at all. It is best to avoid eating outside your homes. If you must eat outside, choose piping hot food or only hygienic eating-places. And leave adventurism to other seasons. Please, please go easy on golgappas... as water born diseases are on an all time high during monsoons!
Even at home, do not leave food unrefrigerated for more than an hour, in order to prevent bacterial growth. And be particularly careful in handling any homemade food that contains eggs, mayonnaise or salad dressing, such as potato salads.
Choose smart snacks. Rains whip up a big appetite, so one feels hungry just as soon as it begins to rain. But it is very important to snack right. Yes, I know the temptation of pakoras is strong, but replacing those with veggie sticks with a spicy dip makes for a perfect snack. Similarly, keep the chips and fried namkeens away. Instead, snack on walnuts, peanuts, and almonds. Sprouts too make an ideal snack to nibble on during the monsoons and are a great (and tasty) alternative to the fried, oily options that one might be tempted to eat otherwise. Plus, they provide enzymes that are needed by the body to function properly and keep infections at bay. They also deliver whopping amount of immunity-boosting nutrients.
Mango Chutney Is Your Best Friend
Finally always keep raw mango chutney handy and eat it with at least one meal every day. It is loaded with pectin, so it helps blunt blood sugar swings and keeps insulin in check. This busts monsoon induced lethargy and also helps prevent and treat gastro-intestinal disorders like diarrhea, dysentery, piles, chronic dyspepsia, indigestion and constipation too, all of which are rampant during monsoons.
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