Monsoons have finally arrived. It’s finally time for some unabashed pakoda-munching and chai-guzzling after the scorching summer months. But foodies beware. Let not the season be an excuse to pig out irresponsibly. Reckless eating during the rains can cause a health problem or two. Dr. Surya Bhagwati, Ayurvedic Expert with Dr. Vaidya’s New Age Ayurveda explains, “The monsoon season reduces the immunity of a human body. It can trigger certain health problems such as allergies, infections, indigestion, hyperacidity, skin disorders and hair fall.” The doctor says that increased humidity during the monsoons can reduce the digestive capacity, and the lack of oxygen in the air can cause breathlessness and general weakness.
What we need during the monsoon months are improved resistance and a robust digestive system. In this article, the doctor underlines crucial Ayurvedic diet tips to kick-start our digestive fire and boost the immune system.
Ginger and Rock Salt
Ginger is highly valued in Ayurveda for its digestive properties and myriad health benefits. To rouse the sluggish digestive system in the monsoons, Dr. Bhagwati recommends chewing a piece of ginger with some rock salt and a squirt of lemon juice. This activates the digestive process, relieving problems like flatulence, bloating and indigestion.
Drink Rasam With Food
Most of us know rasam as an accompaniment with South Indian meals. The spicy soup-like preparation is made by boiling lentils in a base of tamarind, spices and asafoetida. The real purpose of sipping rasam with food is to improve digestion as you eat. The liquid signals the stomach to produce more digestive acids, preventing flatulence, indigestion, constipation, acidity and bloating.
Eat Roasted Bhutta
Bhutta stalls go up as soon as monsoons arrive. Roasted corn-on-the-cob is the quintessential snack for the rainy day. High in taste and nutrition, bhutta offers a lot of health benefits during the monsoons because it is seasonal produce. The snack packs the nutrition you need to brave the harsh rains.
Go Easy on Salt
Reduce your salt intake this monsoon. Salt causes water retention, which can eventually to high blood pressure. Extreme salty foods like pickles, chutneys, sauces can also cause sluggishness, unnecessary hunger, bloating and hyperacidity.
Eat Astringent, Pungent and Bitter Foods
According to Ayurveda, foods that are astringent, pungent or bitter are ideal for monsoons. Foods that fit into the astringent category are apples, pears, legumes, beans, quinoa, tofu and pomegranate. Pungent foods include ginger, pepper, cloves, horseradish, mustard greens, cardamom and turmeric. Foods with bitter properties are aloe vera, leafy greens, basil, neem and bitter gourd.
Drink Boiled and Purified Water
Waterborne illnesses like jaundice, cholera and typhoid are common during the monsoons. To prevent any such episodes, always insist on drinking boiled and purified water.
Meat Eaters, Go Light
If you are a meat eater, steer clear of oily preparations. Rich meat-based dishes are difficult to digest during the monsoons, which can worsen your health problems. Ideally, stick to a vegetarian diet during the rains. But if you must eat meat, have light preparations like stews and soups.
Drink Herbal Teas
There’s nothing more comforting than a cup of hot tea in the rains. Use spices such as ginger, pepper, mint and basil to supersize the nutritional value of your daily cuppa. These spices boost the immune system, helping your body ward off any infection that could come your way.
Fruits like apples and pears have astringent quality and are recommended for the monsoons. So have as many as you may please. But keep a safe distance from mangoes and eat them in moderation. The king of fruits can aggravate kapha and vata problems, leading to acne.
Avoid Raw Food
Even if you are a weight loss diet, refrain from eating raw vegetables as it can lead to gastric problems. Lightly steaming or boiling them will kill the pathogens, making them safe for consumption during the rains.
Have Easily-Digestible Fats
Certain fats like ghee, sunflower oil, olive oil and corn oil are great during the monsoons since they are easy on the digestive system. Opt for them instead of heavy cooking oils that can upset your stomach.
There's nothing worse than having to spend the monsoons going in and out of your doctor's clinic. Here's a low down on all the things you shouldn't eat during the monsoons. So eat responsibly and make the best use of the rainy season. Stay healthy!