Monsoon: Be careful about what you eat and where

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During this season, the temperature fluctuates between hot and bright sun alternating with an unending rain. A sudden temperature change can affect our immune system; hence we have to take extra care of ourselves during the monsoon.

Monsoon witnesses a rapid rise in cases of viral infections as low temperature is ideal for the spread and growth of viruses. Puddles of dirty rainwater breed germs, which give rise to a number of water-borne diseases. Summer dehydration weakens the stomach, which needs to be strengthened during monsoon. Here are some recommendations that will help you to enjoy the season by avoiding health problems.
1. Monsoons usually see slack business for roadside vendors of foods like cut fruits, juices, snacks, fried foods, chaat, gol guppas, and water/milk based drinks. If you really must eat out — choose a place known for its good hygiene and quality food, but try to steer clear of curd and curd-based preparations, salads, fermented and raw preparations.

2. It is also sensible to eat most of your meals cooked at home during the monsoon period. There is danger lurking in the water used outside as also other hygiene concerns.

3. It is also practical to be self sufficient in cooking at home considering that rains will sometime make you housebound. To satisfy all your taste buds it is essential that you keep the kitchen shelves well equipped.

4. Drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself well hydrated. You could have plenty of boiled/filtered water. Lemonade, khus sherbet, and rose sherbet are all excellent cooling agents that reduce heat stress and are refreshing as well. Fruit juices rich in vitamin C such as orange juice or hot lemonade are recommended.

5. Take special care that your food is prepared hygienically. Tap water may be contaminated by overflowing ground water that gets mixed with it during the monsoons. Rinse your plates and dishes with filtered water before use.

6. Vegetables should be washed in clean water. Salads, rotten fruits or over ripe fruits are best avoided during this season. Steam your vegetables well to kill germs.

7. Clean leafy green vegetables several times over in filtered boiled water and steam them to get rid of any germs and bacteria.

8. If one feels feverish, it is advisable to consider a liquid diet like vegetable soup with garlic. It is then preferable to stick to light meals and avoid spicy and heavily fried foods.

9. Ensure that all cooked food is covered well to keep away flies and other insects. Freshly cooked food should be preferred, and it needs to be cooked thoroughly. Frequent power cuts, a common occurrence during monsoons could spoil food in the refrigerator easily, exposing it to bacteria.

10. Use filtered water for cooking, kneading the dough and for washing vegetables, dals and meats.

11. Avoid hot, acidic, sour and salty foods like pickles, spicy curries, chillies, yogurt, deep fried food, junk food and heavy sweets and desserts as they cause water retention, indigestion, hyperacidity and bloating.

12. Intake of non vegetarian food should be in moderation as they tend to get contaminated easily in humid climate. Especially red meats should be avoided.

13. Use ghee, olive oil, corn oil and sunflower oil for cooking as they are lighter. Avoid heavy oils like mustard oil, butter, peanut oil, and other heavy and heating oils.

14. Among fats ghee, olive oil, corn oil and sunflower oil is recommended instead of mustard oil, butter, peanut oil as they are heavy and heaty.

15.Heavy exercises like running, cycling etc. should be avoided. Instead yoga, light dancing, walking, swimming and stretching are recommended.

16. All vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly before using them, especially green leafy vegetables.

17. Avoid street foods however tempting and tasty they may be because we all know very well that these foods are not prepared in ideal hygienic conditions. Besides humidity breeds bacteria.

18. Keep your body and mind cool because emotions like anger, irritation, jealousy are heaty and can give rise to eczema, heartburn and urinary tract infection.

19. Avoid heavy food, instead eat light and easily digestible foods, boiled or steamed vegetables, steamed salad, fruits, khichdi, corn and oatmeal etc.

Life is made when the rains bless our soil…as for the recipe repertoire, click away for some truly magical preparations for this monsoon!

Have a happy and healthy monsoon!!

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