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The right monsoon diet

With cold, flu and stomach problems spreading rampantly in monsoon, be careful about your diet

health and fitness Updated: Aug 15, 2012 01:47 IST
Debasmita Ghosh
Debasmita Ghosh
Hindustan Times

Monsoon is as much about the rains as it is about a host of health woes, be it cold and flu, gastroenteritis or hepatitis. Most of these diseases are food and water-borne, so apart from maintaining hygiene, eating the right food is important.

Daily boosts
Ginger, black pepper and chillies should be a part of the diet during the rainy season, say doctors. “Intake of spices like cardamom and cinnamon help in preventing cold and flu,” says Dr Ajay Agarwal, HOD, Internal Medicines, Fortis Noida. Besides providing valuable nutrients and warmth, these spices also work wonders as anti-microbial agents. “Avoid raw fruit or vegetable salads, as the level of contamination in raw or exposed foods greatly increases since the weather is conducive to microbial growth. Either boil them or thoroughly wash them before eating,” suggests Dr Neelanjana Singh, chief nutritionist, PSRI Hospital. “Tea, be it black or green, are known to improve the T-cell activity in the body, which translates into better immunity. Substitute honey for sugar to add to the health benefits,” adds Dr Singh.

Store it well
Store food at the right temperature to avoid bacteria, says Dr Sandhya Pandey, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon. “People think that the weather is cold, so they leave food outside. However, monsoon has a hot and humid climate, ideal for the growth of microbes. Always keep food in the refrigerator, and before eating, make sure to heat it well to kill all the harmful microbes,” she says.

Go for these
* Be it your morning tea or milk, substituting honey for sugar is a good option as it is a good expectorant and acts as a tonic to provide adequate heat to the body.
* Opt for the crisp variety of fruits and veggies as the crispness is indicative of how fresh the food is. One such seasonal pick is corn. Feast on roasted corn all through the rains.
* Ginger and black pepper should form a part of the daily diet as they help in preventing cold and flu, two common monsoon ailments

Avoid these
* Street food may look tempting but avoid them unless you are not completely sure of the hygiene of the place
* Avoid raw cut fruits, or cold food such as sandwiches etc that have been kept in the open or are not heated as these may have harmful bacterial growth inside
* Fruit juices from roadside stalls often have microbial growth when exposed to the hot and humid temperature, this may lead to stomach infections.

Recipe of kadak masala chai
2gm cardamom
2gm whole black pepper
2gm cinnamon
2 cups water
10gm black tea
20gm sugar
1 cup milk
5gm ginger

Crush all the spices and ginger. Pour water and milk into a sauce pan and add the crushed spices. Boil for about 15 minutes and
sugar. Strain the tea. Sprinkle a pinch of spice mixture for a quick garnish.
Recipe by Rang De Basanti Dhaba

First Published: Aug 14, 2012 17:15 IST