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Monsoon Foods and Their Nutritional Benefits

December 3, 2020

The monsoon has set in and inevitably, along with the heavy rains and cold winds, have come food cravings. As much as the rainy season is about fried snacks and spicy foods, we must ensure that we make the right choices to stay healthy and keep infections at bay. After all, this is also the season of flu and colds.

Let us sift through a selection of healthy foods that are apt for the season.

Hot Teas:

Herbal, ginger and lemon teas all have their own set of unique benefits. Ginger tea aids your digestion and helps in keeping your sinuses clean by clearing congestion. Lemon tea warms you up from the inside, with the lemon bolstering your immunity. Then, you have mint tea, which also helps in digestion. While teas can serve as great liveners, make sure you drink enough water as too much tea can leave you dehydrated.

Hot soups with vegetables can keep your body strong. Plus, they are easy to digest during the monsoon. Chicken broth can ward off the flu while also working as an ideal antidote to joint pains spurred on by cold weather. Remember to add crushed garlic in you soups to reduce inflammation and ease digestion. Here are some flavourful Indian soups to curl up with.

Dal Soup/Shorba:

Cooked with light spices, this is a delicious soup. Lentil broth makes for a great appetiser and is a perfect option if you want a low-carb, high-protein meal.

Rasam:

This is a thinner, spicier and tangier version of the dal soup and acquires its tangy taste from the infusion of tamarind and tomatoes. This South Indian soup is a good way to chase away colds. Add garlic to see instant anti-inflammatory effects.

Ginger Soup/Shorba:

Ginger soup can be comforting on a cold, rainy day. It is a restorative soup that will help you prevent the colds and fevers associated with the season. Ginger soup is easy to make. Brown a large piece of ginger in a pan, add some cumin seeds, chopped onion and a few dried red chillies. Once cooked, crush the mixture of spices and add two cups of milk. Simmer and serve hot!

Paya Soup:

Paya soup made from goat trotters is a slow-cooked stew. It is rich in flavour and is given to those recuperating from sicknesses and arthritis. It is a great remedy for bone pain too.

Citrus Fruits:

Vitamin C-rich fruits help to build the immune system and ease your skin woes during the monsoon season. Have gooseberry and guava as snacks and infuse lemon into your recipes as much as possible. The bug-fighting capacity of these fruits is marvellous.

Turmeric:

This yellow miracle has earned itself a great name in the healing world.  Add it to curries, soups or even warm milk to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Water:

Drink clean, boiled and cooled water during the monsoons and steer clear of water sold loosely in shops. Stomach bugs can travel through water and if you’re prone to colds and flu, have warm water throughout the season. Adding  jeera, ajwain and saunf in small quantities to your water can help in digestion too. Carry your own water bottle wherever you go and refrain from drinking from glasses outside your home.

Corn:

Boiled or roasted corn can help in keeping you full and is a great option at snack time. Make sure you drizzle lime or pepper on your corn for better benefits this season.

Khichdi/Pongal:

This mushy comfort food is an all-time favourite. The perfect balance of carbs and proteins, it can give you energy, keeping you satiated for longer. Add vegetables to your dish for added benefits. Khichdi and pongal are easy to prepare and are light on the tummy.

Pepper:

Use pepper in rasams and soups to help clear nasal congestion. Pepper also aids digestion and due to its antioxidant property, can help ward off inflammation. Pepper can be sprinkled on most dishes.

TIPS:

  • Ensure all foods are freshly prepared and hot when consumed
  • Ensure leftovers are not consumed over extended windows
  • Wash, cut and handle all vegetables and fruits yourself

Foods to avoid during the rains

Foods to Avoid                                                                                                                         Associated Risks

Raw foods from outside like salads and cut fruits                                          Contamination during monsoons

Pani puris, golas, kulfis, cart-sold juices                                                         Bacterial over growth

Half-cooked eggs and undercooked meats                                                    Food poisoning

Green leafy vegetables                                                                                    Larvae

Seafood                                                                                                            Breeding season; old stock in shops

Deep-fried foods                                                                                            Digestive troubles.

As much as they say that rains are all about pakodas and bajjis and bondas, the high-fat content in these can slow down your digestion and cause trouble. Using an air fryer or an oven is a good alternative. Also, make sure that oils are not reused over and over, as that too can cause digestive problems.

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Stay safe, eat healthily and have a happy monsoon! :)

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