Ten foods to consume in the monsoon season to stay healthy


While most people enjoy the monsoon season — sitting down with a cup of tea, biting into pakoras and samosas and watching the rain — it is also unfortunately true that the rainy season brings with it a host of health problems, which test the body’s immune system. There are many illnesses, allergies, etc., which can make a person feel under the weather.

This is why, it becomes important to combat it with healthy, home-cooked foods, fresh fruits, vegetables, etc. Minal Shah, a senior nutrition therapist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, lists the top 10 food items to consume to maintain better health during monsoon; read on.

1. Green peppercorns: 

Green peppercorns contain piperine, an alkaloid that has various health benefits. It also has a significant amount of vitamins C and K. Green peppercorns contain antioxidants that can help prevent serious diseases by deactivating free radicals. They can reduce gas by stimulating the production of hydrochloric acid, which improves food digestion. It also has antimicrobial properties, which means it may be able to reduce the risk of food poisoning by eliminating the bacteria responsible for foodborne illnesses.

2. Fruits: 

Seasonal fruits like peaches, plums, cherries, Jamun, pomegranate are packed with vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. Avoid eating pre-cut fruits and juices from roadside vendors, and stick to high-quality fresh-cut fruits and juices made at home.

3. Fluids: 

Include plenty of warm fluids like soup, masala tea, green tea, broth, dal, etc., as they are good for rehydration and are great for the immune system.

4. Vegetables: 

It is a season of gourds, like snake gourd, bottle gourd, Indian squash, ridge gourd, etc. Include gourd vegetables in various preparations like vegetables, paratha, soup, raita, etc. Eat steamed salads instead of raw vegetables as they contain active bacteria and viruses that may cause bacterial and viral infections.

5. Probiotics: 

Include probiotics like curd, buttermilk, kefir, pickled vegetables to make your gut flora healthy. This helps boosts the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which helps fight the bad bacteria or the disease-causing bacteria.

6. Proteins: 

Including healthy proteins in your meals helps increase immunity and helps in recovery from illness. Milk and milk products, pulses like moong dal, lentils, chole, rajma, soya, egg, and chicken are good sources of healthy proteins.

7. Ginger and garlic: 

Ginger and garlic help combat chills and fever, eliminate congestion, and have anti-viral properties. They have anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antioxidant effects, too. Ginger tea can help ease throat pain. Crushed ginger or its extract can be added to honey for children above the age of 1 year. It can be added to soups or in teas for the elderly. Garlic also has antimicrobial/antifungal properties; it is an effective immune stimulant. It can be added to gravies, chutneys, soups, tea, etc.

8. Fenugreek seeds/methi: 

Fenugreek is an energy booster, and it contains all the necessary minerals for it to take care of our body, even during fever and digestive disorders.

9. Turmeric: 

Turmeric has curcumin that has antioxidant, antimicrobial effects. It inhibits microbial growth like H. Pylori, MRSA, etc., and prevents gastric ulcers, improving immune response. It also helps with antimalarial activity among other protective and preventive functions. A teaspoon of turmeric as milk/latte, with honey or in hot water would be ideal.

10. Omega-3 fatty acids: 

Omega-3 fatty acids have immune-modulatory effect. In monsoon, where the risk of infection through food and water increases, increasing immunity would help. Omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish, shrimps, oysters, nuts, and oil seeds like walnuts, pistachio, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.