The monsoon season not only brings much-needed respite from the sweltering heat but also brings along an array of health woes. Seasonal cold, flu, typhoid, and mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, and stomach infections are very common in this season.
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“Bolstering the immune system is the key to building resistance and combat infections. Practising mindful eating behaviors, choosing seasonal foods, staying physically active, and being positive is the best way to maintain good health status,” said Deepti Khatuja, Head – Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon.
From probiotics to fruits, she suggested including certain foods — which help boost immunity — in the diet regimen during the rainy season.
Firstly, she recommended plenty of fluids such as warm concoctions, herbal teas, broths, and soups. Speaking about the importance of fluids in this season, she said, “These drinks are rehydrating, maintain electrolyte balance, detoxify the system, and are essential for building a robust immune system.”
According to her, adding seasonal fruits like Jamun, pears, plum, cherries, peaches, papaya, apples, and pomegranates meets the increasing demands of nutrients like vitamins A, C, antioxidants, and fibre.
Khatuja suggested adding plenty of various gourds (bottle gourd, bitter gourd, ash gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd) and other veggies including cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, okra, and radish liberally to your regular diet plan. They help foster good gut health and immune activity, the expert said.
Spices and herbs including turmeric, ginger, garlic, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg are bestowed with anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and immune-boosting activities. “They work amazingly well to support the immune system by regulating immune cells like T-cells that help the body defend against pathogens. Add these spices generously to your regular cooking during this weather and uplift your overall health,” she told indianexpress.com.
Additionally, she stressed the inclusion of nuts and seeds, which are loaded with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
“Probiotics are packed with good bacteria that act on our digestive system and boost our immunity. Include yogurt, buttermilk, cheese kefir, kombucha, and soybeans,” she said.
Dietitian Manpreet also shared a list of food items that should be consumed this season to boost immunity. “As per Ayurveda, with change in season, we need to change our diet,” she wrote in a post on Instagram. She suggested eating foods such as — nachni, ginger, boiled peanuts, Jamun, root vegetables (suran, arbi), mushrooms, probiotics and fermented foods, pulses, rajgira (amaranth flour), and corn.
“Avoid street food like pre-cut fruit, fried food, junk food, or any street food as there is a major possibility of food contamination that causes GI tract illness,” Khatuja added.
She also suggested avoiding eating raw salads and steaming them before eating during the rainy season as they are more prone to catching infections that may affect the immune system. Meat and seafood should also be avoided during the monsoon season as the risks of waterborne diseases and food poisoning are high, the expert said.
“Nutrition and immunity depend on the food you eat. Therefore, we should be aware of what we are eating. While eating right and maintaining hygiene can go a long way in keeping you safe during the rainy season, you cannot completely avoid illnesses. Monsoons, paired with the current COVID scenario, can pose bigger problems. So, one needs to take extra measures to protect our health and be prepared for any adversity,” she added.
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