Monsoon diet: Foods you should avoid and what you must eat more of during rainy season
Instead of thinking just about what to exclude completely from your diet during monsoon, you should concentrate on healthy practices that ensure good health and safety.
A balanced diet which includes seasonal foods is not only healthy but also keeps the ecosystem and biodiversity in mind. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation calls this type of ethical and nutritious food pattern a sustainable diet, and ancient Ayurvedic texts — according to a study in the AYU Journal in 2011 — call it ritucharya or diet and behaviour according to seasons.
Ritucharya is considered to be extremely healthy and capable of preventing diseases if you stick to seasonally produced foods, especially during season changes. The monsoon season is one of plenty in this regard, with lots of veggies and fruits available throughout the months of this season. But, it also brings its own set of disadvantages because this season is known for a higher prevalence of food poisoning, diarrhoea and other diseases.
“Monsoons are a period of infections,” says Akanksha Mishra, a nutrition and wellness expert associated with myUpchar. “Cold and cough, malaria, dengue, stomach infections, fever, typhoid, and pneumonia are very common during monsoon. Due to the risks of all these infections, we always ask people to have a simple, balanced, freshly cooked meal that’s easy to digest during monsoon season.”
Common dietary mistakes during monsoon season
Instead of thinking just about what to exclude completely from your diet during monsoon, you should concentrate on healthy practices that ensure good health and safety. The following are some common dietary mistakes people usually make during monsoons, but shouldn’t.
1. Eating fried food: While it’s perfectly fine to indulge in fried foods like pakoras once in a while, but you should take care of the proportion you eat because an excess can cause indigestion, diarrhoea and other issues. Also, do not reuse the oil you’ve fried in once because that can be toxic.
2. Not washing green leafy veggies properly: Many studies, including one in Applied and Environmental Microbiology in 2015, have shown that green leafy vegetables are the most prone to housing a variety of bacteria and fungi -- all of which get the most conducive environment to grow in monsoons. Washing these veggies thoroughly and cooking them on high heat is very important.
3. Eating meat and seafood: Monsoon is the season during which fish and seafood breed, so it’s ethical to refrain from consuming these foods during the monsoon months. The risks of waterborne diseases and food poisoning are also high during monsoon, so that’s another reason to avoid seafood and meat products that could be carriers of infection.
4. Eating outside: The temperature and moisture levels during monsoon are perfect for bacterial and fungal growth -- and there’s the added risk of waterborne diseases. So, it’s best to avoid eating out, especially street food, no matter how much you crave it.
Foods to include in your monsoon diet
The following are some food groups you should include plenty of, during monsoons, in your diet:
1. Fluids: Drinking plenty of safe, potable water is as important as consuming warm, freshly prepared kadha, broths and soups. These are rehydrating and good for your immune system.
2. Fruits: Seasonal fruits like pears, jamun, plum, cherries, lychee, peaches and pomegranates should be consumed more for nutrients like fibre, vitamin A and C and antioxidants.
3. Vegetables: This is the season of gourds, like bottle gourd, bitter gourd, pointed gourd, ridge gourd, Indian squash, etc. Add plenty of these veggies in your daily diet.
4. Spices: Include spices like turmeric and ginger in your diet because these have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Simply home-cooked food should be your target in this weather.
For more information, read our article on Healthy recipes.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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