With the onset of monsoon and the fluctuating temperatures caused by constant swings between humidity and dry heat, our food gets easily infested by harmful viruses and bacteria. On reaching inside the human body, these can cause various diseases and impact our overall gut health. Yet simple watch-out tips can make everyday eating a safe and hassle-free experience.
1) Prepare small portions of meals so that they can be consumed fresh. Leftovers, especially if not refrigerated on time, can go bad due to moisture and humidity in the air. They are a sitting duck for microbes to multiply.
2) Avoid eating uncooked food: Any raw food consumption should be avoided as it can be a host of harmful viruses and bacteria. Ensure that you cook your meats and fish properly at a certain temperature as there are more chances of viruses and bacteria becoming stubborn and surviving on that food during the monsoon.
3) Avoid consuming junk, oily or spicy food: Stay away from any kind of fried food. Instead, food can be pressure-cooked, stir-fried, sautéd and can be prepared with other methods that provide proper heat. Avoid drinking contaminated water.
4) Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming. Do not buy fruits or vegetables that have any blemish or cuts. Store all fruits and vegetables at the right temperature to avoid bacterial or fungal growth. Adjust refrigeration levels according to humidity to avoid your fresh produce from spoiling. Summer vegetables like beans and potatoes should also be kept in the refrigerator under 10 degrees to maintain their nutritional value. Soak vegetables in lukewarm water with salt before cooking to eliminate any kind of hidden bacteria. Vegetables like cabbage and lettuce should be soaked in cold saline water that helps kill any germs while keeping their crispness intact.
5) Stay hydrated and sleep well.
6) Stick to high-quality fresh cut fruits and juices made at home and avoid them even at restaurants.
With weather changes, one should consume seasonal fruits and vegetables, focus on liquid intake and choose Vitamin C-rich foods for better immunity.
Best foods to consume during monsoon: Seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fruits can include jamun, peaches, papaya and plums. Vegetables can include bottle gourd, bitter gourd, ash gourd, ridge gourd, lady finger, beans and so on
Avoid the following food items/vegetables during monsoon:
• Spinach, cabbage and cauliflower: Due to humidity levels, these leafy vegetables become breeding grounds for germs (boil thoroughly before consuming).
• Sour edibles that cause water retention in the body. So avoid pickle/tamarind.
• Avoid dairy products as the digestive system is fragile during the monsoon.
• Sea food and fish as the monsoon is usually a breeding time for these species.
• Fruits and vegetables cut for a very long time.
Recommended food items during monsoon
• Nuts and dry fruits – Rich in riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamin E, these food items help strengthen your immunity.
• Add ginger and garlic to your meals. Herbs have excellent antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
• Foods rich in vitamin C help boost immunity.
• Foods rich in probiotics and Omega-3 fatty acids.