During the monsoon, people tend to fall sick, develop a cold, cough, fever and respiratory tract infections. Others experience indigestion, gas and bloating. One needs to be careful about the food and water they consume.
On the one hand, we’re told to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. But eating them during the monsoon becomes questionable. Fruits and vegetables are exposed to microbes while being delivered after harvestation. In addition, pesticides sprayed also stick to the surface. Fruits and vegetables need to be washed thoroughly, especially ones that are eaten raw.
You can wash fruits and vegetables under running water with a soft brush. Most of the dirt and pesticides are washed away in this manner.
You can also soak fruits and vegetables in a pot of water (approximately 2 litres), add half a cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp of salt.
You may also choose to spray them with in a water-vinegar solution (1-1).
Another easy way is to add 4 tbsp of salt to 1 glass of lemon juice, put it in a pot of water (approximately 2 litres) and soak for 5 mins. Then rinse under running water.
To make a stronger solution mix 4 tbsp of salt with the juice of 1 lemon, put it in a pot and with approximately 2 litres of water and 100 ml of vinegar. Soak the fruits and vegetables for five minutes and then rinse under running water.
You may also choose to use potassium permanganate to clean fruits and vegetables. Soak them in potassium permanganate for about five minutes and then rinse. This is very effective in washing away germs, bacteria and pesticides.
Health is key
Avoid street fruits, golas, chaat, pre-cut fruits, chutney, leafy vegetables, pickles, pakodas, and juices from roadside vendors. If you are eating out, make sure the place that you have chosen confirms to some basic standards of quality and hygiene. Else you may contract a serious infection or water borne disease.
Avoid cooking in bulk as it may get spoilt. Also, freshly prepared food tends to be more nutritious.
Avoid greasy meals and fried foods, and reduce your intake of non-veg food. Have lighter meat preparations like soups and stews.
Make liberal use of ginger, pepper and pipli to improve your digestion. Garlic, asofoetida, sonth, turmeric, coriander and jeera enhance your digestive power.
Eat moderate quantities of food as the body finds it harder to digest if you overeat.
Drink warm beverages; add mint or ginger, or dry ginger powder to tea. Moong dal is easy to digest and should be your dal of choice.
Avoid eating food straight out of the fridge. Fresh foods are the best, but if there’s food stored in the fridge, heat it before eating.
Water filtered by reverse osmosis (RO) is considered safe for drinking. Boiled water should be consumed within 24 hours of boiling.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.