Monsoons can be enjoyable provided we know what to eat and what to avoid. Apart from the precautions we take about drinking water, a good diet is also essential to remain healthy through the monsoon season. This might mean you have to give up on your palak curry, salads, seafood, and of course street food. But, worry not, for you have plenty of options to choose from among the typical monsoon foods that you won’t get to eat in other seasons. A variety of mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and whatnot! Here is a rundown on what you can eat and what you should avoid.
What to eat?
Eat only freshly cooked foods at home. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated as monsoons can be humid as well. Include spices like turmeric, black pepper, and cloves in your food as that can help with immunity to fight infections. Consume seasonal fruits like jamun, cherries, pears, fresh dates, pomegranates, etc. as they provide protection. Also, include natural probiotics like curd, and buttermilk to aid good digestion as digestive disorders are common during monsoon. Apart from this, eating colourful fruits and veggies is any day good for health.
Apart from this, there are some monsoon special foods such as a variety of mushrooms available in different parts of India. Small button mushrooms down south, rugda mushrooms in Jharkhand, gavti almi mushrooms in Goa, dhingri mushroom in Himachal, and so on. These are different from commercially grown mushrooms and are delicious. You also get fresh bamboo shoots in certain parts like Konkan, North East, and Coorg. These are also a monsoon special delicacy that can be cooked in many ways. Singhara or water chestnuts are another special aquatic food available in North India during this time, which can be consumed. Apart from this, there are also some monsoon special herbs like fiddlehead ferns,also called lingdu or dhekia shaak available in Himachal, Uttarakhand, and Assam. These seasonal foods have their benefits and taste great too. Add on some kadha, and Omega 3-rich foods like flax seeds, almonds, or walnuts and you are good to go.
Note: The monsoon mushrooms also grow close to the ground and are a risk and better avoided. However, they are available only during this time. Hence, if you want to eat, please clean them thoroughly.
What to avoid?
While having greens is a good way to maintain health in other seasons, it is better to give it up for a month or two during monsoons. Most greens that grow close to the soil such as palak, methi, etc. are prone to attract more germs, bacteria, and fungi during this time due to the humid, wet weather. Even if we clean them thoroughly, these foods can prove to be risky, hence, it’s better to avoid them. If you just eat greens, try Arbi leaves as they grow higher as a shrub, and are considered a special monsoon delicacy in a few parts of India. The same principle applies to cruciferous foods such as cabbage, cauliflower, etc. that grow close to the ground.
Also, avoid eating raw foods like salads during monsoon and stick to cooked foods only. Raw vegetables too may be carrying more germs and viruses in the monsoon. Hence, avoid eating them raw. Sea foods are best avoided during this time, as the water gets more contaminated and can affect the fish. Eating contaminated fish can give you trouble. Additionally, this is also the breeding season for many fishes and it causes changes in them that can cause harm.
Monsoons are best coveted for the various pakoras, eaten hot with a steaming cup of chai. However, indulging once in a while is okay, as it’s best to avoid spicy and oily foods during monsoon. Avoid fizzy drinks as they tend to dehydrate us. Instead, stick to natural drinks made at home like nimbu paani or jal jeera, as they can help with Vitamin C to fight infections and also improve digestion.
Avoiding too much consumption of dairy products in monsoon is good as our digestive system becomes a bit sensitive during this time. So, you just might have to control your craving for palak paneer!
Overall, if we pay attention to what we eat, and take some personal safety precautions, monsoon can also be an enjoyable season. Please do not forget to get your daily dose of exercise, even if indoors.