Goodbye, mangoes. And a warm hello to the kadak adrak chai!
Monsoon has arrived and so is your temptation for eating all foods steaming hot. The warm soup and hot chocolate you detested during summer become a comfort food in the rains. Similarly, the mangoes you devoured in the scorching heat lose their luscious taste with the first showers.
As the season changes, your eating preferences and habits should change to help you cope with the climatic changes. For instance, rains leave puddles and dampness that become the breeding ground for mosquitoes and insects. Also, the high humidity levels lower your immunity. Your digestive system is at its weakest in the monsoon. Thus, your favourite season spells trouble for your health. And of course, skipping exercise due to the downpour or the lazy monsoon mood and gorging on pakodas, bhajiyas and fried just add to the woes.
But before you get all worked up, Bon Happetee has sorted your health and weight issues.
We’ve compiled a list on the foods to eat so that you remain healthy and fit during the rainy season:
Salads are nutritious and you should eat them to ramp up your fiber and nutrient quota. But, as a nutritionist, I know monsoon’s not the best time to chomp on salads.
So here’s how I relish my salad – I throw in the cabbage and heat it for 25-30 seconds in the microwave. This practice kills all the germs and ensures I grab my dose of antioxidant. Cucumber and carrot kachumber is another favourite since peeling the skin lowers the risk of food infection.
A storehouse of nutrients, leafy greens are every nutritionist’s favourite. But during the monsoons, green leafy vegetables are swarming with insects and food infection. So avoid eating them raw.
However, you can savour by cooking as cooking destroys the microbes – palak paneer, aloo gobhi, palak khichdi, gobhi paratha are smart ways to relish your greens without falling ill.
Move over the mango and dig into the delicious monsoon fruits – pear, plum, peach, apple and custard apple. And before you start on how fattening custard apple is, let’s talk about its benefits.
Custard apple is bursting with the goodness of iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B 6, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients play a key role in promoting healthy hair, radiant skin, along with steady sugar levels and a happy heart. With 100 calories in a 100-gram serving, custard apple is a steal! And custard apple contains zero fat and cholesterol. So, it’s definitely not making you fat.
The other fruits – plums, pears and peaches – are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C activates production of white blood cells, the first line of defence for your body’s immune system. Thus, all monsoon fruits are loaded with iron and Vitamin C, nutrients that strengthen your resistance to infections and inflammations. Additionally, both these nutrients play a key role in keeping your tresses healthy and combat hair loss, a common problem in rains.
Obviously, you can’t wolf down leafy veggies, the tinda, bhindi, and doodhi for lunch and dinner throughout the monsoon. You need variety. It’s time to eat pulse-based vegetables like rajma, chawli, chole and besan. What’s more, pulses are brimming with protein, a vital nutrient to boost your immunity; a strong immune system protects you from the monsoon-related illnesses. The easy-to-digest sprouts are a healthy addition to your monsoon diet. A treasure trove of B-complex and Vitamin C, sprouts make a great in-between snack, sabzi, or usal.
And of course, dal khichdi with ghee makes for a perfect monsoon meal when you’re craving for something hot, quick and delicious.
Clearly, nature has the answer to all weather-related changes!
While we’ve discussed the food groups, there’s an important rule or two about staying fit during monsoons: eat light and fast.
With the constant downpour, sunlight is rare; these sunbeams play a key role in digestion. With decreased sunshine, your digestion power decreases drastically. That’s why go easy on the mouth-watering monsoon munchies – pakoras, bhajoyas, samosas, and kachori. And relish the khichdi, sprouts and custard apple and occasionally you can grab a bhajiya or a samosa!
Indigestion and stomach problems is also one of the key reasons why fasts are observed during monsoon. Most people observe the chaumasa (four months of fasting during the monsoon) or fast at least during the shravana month which sees the heaviest rainfall. By fasting, your vital organs get needful rest as they work hard throughout the year to keep you healthy.
And before we forget – have loads of ginger in the rainy season. Ginger is highly effective in improving food absorption and digestion. Also, it helps keep the cold and flu away.
Have an awesome monsoon from team bon happetee 🙂
Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.