The smell of wet earth, the tinkle of raindrops and the verdant greens are a welcome break after the scorching Indian summers. Monsoon is probably the most awaited of seasons, that fills our souls with joy. But with good, comes the bad too.
Monsoon is a time when the pitta aggravates (fire element). It is directly responsible for digestion and metabolism of the body. Due to a higher amount of pitta in the body, one’s digestion becomes sluggish and can lead to several problems like indigestion, hyperacidity, skin disorders (like boils, eczema and rashes), hair loss and infections.
According to Ayurveda, the ideal foods for monsoon are those that help:
- Cool our stomach
- Are warm and contain salt
- Cleanse our body system
DietCare Nutrition lists the various foods that one should consume during this season. Whatever one eats, ensure that one does not eat too much or too little. It is best to eat smaller meals to keep the digestive system at ease. Small modifications shall go a long way to keep one healthy.
- Mix of fruits – All fruits rich in Vitamin C available in this season.
- Roasted snacks – like jowar, bajra, chana, wheat, murmura. Try out the DCN roasted grain chaat as a healthy alternate to fried chaat.
- Flavour of the season – bhutta or corn on the cob is both delicious and wholesome.
- Makhana and popcorn, as well as homemade bhelpuri.
Mini Meal Options
- Warm soups and vegetable broths-These will not only keep the cold at bay, it will also ensure that you get the day’s nutrients and remain hydrated. We do not recommend packaged, readymade soups. Instead make them fresh.
Non-vegetarians can include lean meat in their soups. Adding onion and garlic to the soups is very therapeutic.
- Teas/Infusions – Try having herbal teas, especially a cup of ginger tea, lemon grass infusion daily. One can also add basil (Tulsi) or ajwain. Pumpkin seed tea is also recommended.
This will keep one from catching a cold and if one does then help soothe the inflamed membranes and clear the passage or blocked sinuses.
- Consume light and fresh foods prepared from barley, rice and wheat. Barley is a very good monsoon food.
- Bitter vegetables and herbs neutralize pitta, according to Ayurveda. Vegetables like bitter gourd, parwal, kantola, methi (fenugreek), tinda are suitable for the rainy season.
- Rotis made with a mix of oat flour and barley flour alongwith wheat flour as they help body lose excess water.
- Moong dal (Green gram) is easily digested and should be the preferred dal of the season.
- Use raw amba haldi and kucchi haldi, which are easily available in this season. They are natural antioxidants, antibacterial and antiviral, enhancing our immunity.
- Increase the consumption of garlic, black pepper, ginger, asafoetida (hing), jeera powder and coriander as they help improve both digestion and immunity.
- Lean meats should substitute red meats as they take longer to digest. Non-vegetarians should go in for lighter meat preparations like soups and stews rather than heavy curries.
- Consume more of grilled, steamed, vegetables. Our Indian tandoori food is a very good option.
- Foods rich in anti-oxidants – helps fight free-radicals, keeps illness at bay, improve the immunity system. like pumpkin, capsicum.
- Replace curd with buttermilk as it is lighter on the body.
- Either avoid leafy vegetables or wash them thoroughly. They can be infested with germs and microbes.
- Stale food should be avoided as it is a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Last and the most important-Chances are that one would reduce their fluid intake during monsoon. Ensure that we keep ourselves hydrated.
Food to Avoid During Monsoons
- Who can avert the desire to eat hot, piping pakoras during this season. But remember that apart from loading our body with empty calories, oily and fried food is difficult to digest. Most often than not it leads to acidity.
- Pickles, chutneys and tamarind, may add the spice to our food but is heavy for the body and promotes water retention.
- Avoid excessive tea and coffee as they tend to dehydrate the body.
- Bhavaprakash states that consuming ‘Haritaki’ (Terminalia Chebula) with rock salt in monsoon season is beneficial to health.
- Consume a small piece of ginger with rock salt before every meal.
To sum it up-
- The important point to keep in mind is that you must avoid oily food, street food or any type of food that is prepared in bulk else there is a possibility that it upsets your stomach.
- Always binge on nutritional food and be hygienic by taking necessary precautionary measures like cleaning your house, washing hands before and after having a meal, etc.
- Always follow the cardinal rule of not eating when not hungry.
- Don’t let the rains keep your spirits low and continue with your exercise regime.
Have a safe and healthy monsoon.