With Coronavirus this season, Monsoons are going to be a tricky affair. Here’s a quick guide as to what food items you must and must not include in your diet this season. Remember, it’s all about immunity, more so in this time!
Diet constitutes not only elimination of food but inclusion as well. Hence, in order to ensure good health and safety this monsoon, one should opt for a balanced diet which includes seasonal foods as it is not just healthy but it also keeps the ecosystem and biodiversity in mind. Such type of diet is termed as a sustainable diet by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation. According to a study in the AYU Journal in 2011- this type of ethical and nutritious food pattern is called ritucharya or diet and behaviour according to seasons.
Simply put, Ritucharya is a seasonal lifestyle in accordance with Ayurveda. ऋतु चर्या का अर्थ है ऋतु के अनुसार ही पथ्यापथ्य का सेवन करना अथवा ऋतु के अनुसार ही चेष्टा और जीवनचर्या का पालन करना.
Ritucharya attributes to seasonally produced foods, especially during season changes. It is considered to be extremely healthy and capable of preventing diseases. Since monsoon season produces lots of veggies and fruits, this is an apt season to practice Ritucharya. However, it also has its own set of disadvantages in the form of higher possibility of food poisoning, diarrhoea and other diseases like malaria, dengue, stomach infections, typhoid and it is because of this higher risk of infections that nutritionists ask people to have a simple, balanced, freshly cooked meal that’s easy to digest during monsoons.
It’s the fried food which is on the top priority list of people when monsoon season hits. Although it’s okay to indulge in your favourite pakoras once in a while, it is imperative that you don’t eat it in excess. Excess consumption of fried foods can lead to indigestion, diarrhoea and other issues. Also, you must refrain from reusing the oil you’ve fried in because that can be toxic.
Although all the veggies are affected by bacteria it is green leafy vegetables which are the most prone to housing a variety of fungi. A study in Applied and Environmental Microbiology in 2015 and as well as many other studies claim this. Hence, it is imperative to wash these veggies thoroughly and cook them on high heat.
During monsoons, fish and seafood breed, so it’s ethical to refrain from consuming these foods during the monsoon months. Another factor is that the risks of waterborne diseases and food poisoning are also high during monsoon, so that’s another reason to avoid seafood and meat products that could be carriers of infection.
Bacteria and fungus grow in monsoon as the temperature and moisture levels during this season are perfect for their growth. So, it’s best to avoid eating out, especially street food, no matter how much you crave it.
Here are some of the foods you must include in your diet during monsoons.
Consuming plenty of safe, potable water is as important as consuming warm, freshly prepared kaadha, broths and soups. The fact that these are rehydrating and good for your immune system, it must be included in your monsoon diet.
For nutrients like fibre, Vitamin A and C, seasonal fruits like pears, jamun, plum, cherries, lychee, peaches and pomegranates should be consumed more.
Add plenty of gourds like bottle gourd, bitter gourd, pointed gourd, ridge gourd, Indian squash, etc. in your daily diet.
Rich in antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, spices like ginger and turmeric should be added in your diet.
We hope we can work towards strengthening immunity, getting some sort of workout at home, taking care of our food patterns, to get the most out of the season and also protect ourselves from the virus by maintaining social distance and wearing masks.