Monsoon might be the season of fried food and hot cups of tea for most, but that’s not all it is. Many types of illnesses are at their peak during this season, and this includes malaria, dengue, typhoid, food poisoning, diarrhoea, vitamin D deficiency and skin infections. This is the reason why having a balanced diet during monsoons is as important as it is during other seasons.
What to eat during monsoon season
This concept of eating balanced meals according to the seasons is known as ritucharya in Ayurveda, and it’s known to acclimatise the immune system and mind as per the needs of the season. If going disease-free is your intention during the monsoon season, then following ritucharya and adding the following foods to your diet immediately (and in plenty) is something you should consider.
- Plenty of safe or potable water is the first thing you need. Remember that waterborne diseases peak during monsoon, so boil water before drinking it if you don’t have a purifier at home.
- Your body also needs loads of fluids during monsoon because humidity and sweating tend to occur more during this season. Drink freshly prepared soups, broths, herbal tea like kadha, ginger tea, etc to boost your immune system.
- Fruits during monsoon are plenty and vibrant, and you should have as many types as you can every day to get vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your diet.
- Gourds, like bitter gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd, sponge gourd, pointed gourd and different types of squash and pumpkin are available during monsoon. These are all rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so eat them regularly.
- Spices and herbs like turmeric, ginger, garlic, pepper, Indian basil, mint, lemongrass, etc have antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which can help keep diseases away during the monsoon.
- Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition, especially proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants - and you should have them during every season, including monsoons.
What not to eat during monsoon season
Along with following a balanced diet during monsoon, there are also a number of unhealthy eating practices you should avoid. These food habits are likely to increase your risks of contracting diseases during the monsoon season.
- Eating out, at fancy restaurants as well as street food stalls, should be avoided during monsoons because this is the season of food- and water-borne diseases. Simply cooked, fresh and healthy meals should be your go-to this season.
- The temperature and humidity of monsoon season are conducive to bacterial and fungal growth, especially on green leafy vegetables. You may still consume these, but make sure you wash them in lukewarm water and cook them thoroughly on a high heat before consumption.
- Monsoon can take a toll on your gastrointestinal system, so avoid fried foods and rich dishes during this season. If you’re eating fried foods at home, don’t eat too much or too often and don’t reuse the oil you fry in.
- The risk of water contamination is high during the monsoon season, which makes all types of fish and seafood susceptible to being carriers. It’s, therefore, best to avoid eating fish and seafood during monsoon.