Don’t just dig into chai and pakora this monsoon. Rather, give yourself a dose of these superfoods to boost your immunity. As much as we all love the monsoon season, it brings a lot of pathogens that affect our immunity and make us more prone to cold, flu and infections.
The COVID-19 pandemic is already emerging over us and can take a hit as soon as we lower our immunity. Therefore, it is important to maintain your health and consume fruits and vegetables that improve our immunity and make us stronger. Senior citizens, children and immuno-compromised people are more prone to these infections and consuming a healthy diet can protect them from these disease-causing pathogens.
Immunity being the keyword in the current scenario, all we want now is to ensure that our innate immune system can take care of itself. So, eating right and being positive is the best way to go. Season change from extreme hot to pleasant and refreshing rainy season is surely soothing. But rains also bring along its share of health concerns to many other health risks, we can fall prey to a host of health issues in this season. And, when COVID-19 is causing havoc all over the world, monsoons could be even more dangerous to your health. Therefore, you need to make sure that the food you eat beat the best balance between nutrition and immunity.
Here we have rounded up eight food items that you should include in your monsoon diet to keep your immune system at its best!
Ginger is an excellent herb with antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It is also rich in antioxidants. No wonder, it is a go-to remedy for cold and cough, sore throat, body ache, among others, integral to every household. Ginger is also useful in boosting your immunity level. You can have it by steeping in water as ginger tea, or add it to soups and curries or have it with turmeric and milk as a soothing Haldi doodh.
With key medicinal properties, ginger enable us to ward off cold and flu. It is a rich source of chromium, magnesium, and zinc that improves the overall blood flow. Adding ginger to your diet can also soothe an upset stomach. You can also fight nausea with the help of ginger.
Spinach is a superfood. This food source not only improves immunity but is also filled with numerous nutrients like Vitamin C and E, beta carotene, folic acid, and fibre, which help in maintaining the overall health of the body and also supports the immune system.
All these nutrients and antioxidants help your body to carry on its functions properly and bestow you with a great immune system thereby preparing you for the monsoons. Although you may find many references saying it’s not good to have leafy veggies during monsoons owing to the mud and dirt sticking to them, you can always make sure to wash them really well before cooking.
Beetroot is filled with many benefits that can make your body healthy. It is not only loaded with different vitamins but is a good source of nutrients like potassium and other minerals. It can also help lower blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight and may even prevent cancer. It also increases the body’s immunity.
During monsoons, a lot of people suffer from indigestion. Consumption of beetroot helps in the digestion process, weight loss and building immunity. Beetroot is also beneficial for those experiencing hair and skin problems.
They are immunity boosters and a rich source of fibre, protein, and antioxidants. It has low calories and can be eaten if you are trying to lose weight. It also reduces the risk of serious health diseases like certain cancers and heart disease.
They are very rich in Vitamin B and have tons of antioxidants (especially selenium), both of which play an important part in building a healthy immune system. Mushrooms are also a great source of vegetarian protein and contain all 17 essential amino acids needed by the body.
- Bitter Gourd
Although the very mention of this veggie might make you hide inside your wardrobe, bitter guards are rich in Vitamin C, and antiviral as well. So, the next time your mother cooks it, do taste it. You can have it boiled, stewed with other seasonal vegetables, or fried. Whichever form you like or don’t like, make sure to add it to your monsoon diet.
Include bitter gourd in your diet to keep diseases like constipation, ulcers and malaria at bay as it has anti-inflammatory properties. Even diabetic patients are advised to consume bitter gourd because it helps in lowering the body’s blood sugar level.
Also named as the stinking rose, garlic comes with loads of health benefits. It fights the cold and flu-causing viruses and gives a boost to your immune system. Studies show that eating garlic on a daily basis increases the number of T-Cells in the blood, thus helping to protect you from viral infections like cold and flu. Alliin is a compound found in whole garlic. And, when you pound or bite garlic in raw form, alliin changes to allicin, the most potent ingredient found in garlic.
It might be kiss-unfriendly, but garlic is a powerhouse of phytochemical allicin, an antimicrobial compound. One British study found that people who took garlic supplements had 46 percent fewer colds and recovered faster if they got one. Don’t like garlicky food? Just swallow two fresh cloves daily with a glass of water.
- Lemon: Pulp + Zest
Lemon is pure vitamin C, and it is great for your immunity, the need of the hour. It fights infections, eases digestion, strengthens bones, and does a lot more good things for your body.
And did you know that lemon zest is as nutritious as the flesh? Full of bioactive compounds and flavonoids, lemon pulp and lemon zest is an incredible addition to your monsoon diet. Sprinkle lemon juice on your food, grind lemon zest to a dish, or simply drink a glass of lemonade, this citrusy delight will take care of your nutrition and immunity.
- Nuts and dry fruits
Munching on dates, almonds, and walnuts is a good idea, no matter what the season. However, as these nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals, these are great options to add to your monsoon diet. Rich in riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin E these food items help to strengthen your immunity. Also, Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which helps in keeping your cells healthy.
If you are thinking of binge eating replace junk food and add nuts, dry fruits and seeds in your diet and make your nutrition complete with the bliss of immunity.
Foods to Avoid During the Monsoon
Like we have the do’s for monsoon diet, we also have the don’ts. Let’s take a look at the foods you should avoid eating during the rainy season.
- There is a tempting string attached between the rains and pakoras and samosas, and everything fried and crisp. Munching on your favourite fried food might make you feel the bliss from inside your mouth, but these could make your tummy bloated. Humidity tends to slow down your metabolism, hence affecting your nutrition and immunity.
- Frizzy carbonated beverages are tempting. However, these tend to lower the minerals’ level in your body, resulting in lower enzyme activity and a weak digestive system. So, whenever you feel like quenching your need for a cold drink, reach for a glass of lemon water your daily dose of vitamin C.
- Cravings of paani puri and papri chaat might comfort your taste buds, but these dishes are certainly not the right choice during monsoons considering the hygiene factor, with the air of the global pandemic surrounding us.
- As the rainy season happens to be the breeding time for sea fish, it’s better to avoid eating sea fish and have fresh-water fish and other forms of meat like chicken and mutton.
Always remember, your nutrition and immunity depend on the food you eat. Therefore, you should be conscious of what you are feeding in. In this tough time of the pandemic, when keeping your immunity uptight is highly crucial, do have a focus on your diet and safety as well.