Monsoon cravings decoded: Why we crave for samosa or pakora during rainy season? | Health - Hindustan Times
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Monsoon cravings decoded: Why we crave for samosa or pakora during rainy season?

By, New Delhi
Jul 18, 2023 01:06 PM IST

What is it that makes cravings for deep fried and spicy food so intense during monsoon? It appears science has an answer to this connection.

Icy-cold sugary drinks during summer, Gajar ka halwa in winter and pakode in rainy season - we all have had these common seasonal cravings that often make us ditch our healthy diet plan in favour of these seasonal delights. In monsoon, street vendors no wonder do a brisk business. Even though we are aware of the health risks of our indulgence, we are compulsively drawn towards a plate of crispy street delights and spicy chutney. What is it that makes cravings for deep fried and spicy food so intense during monsoon? It appears science has an answer to this connection. (Also read: Preventing Monsoon hair fall: 7 amazing foods to protect your tresses this monsoon)

Spicy and crunchy foods like vadas, bhajjiyas, samosas, Indo Chinese, and so many other monsoon staples inspire nostalgia and comfort in monsoon
Spicy and crunchy foods like vadas, bhajjiyas, samosas, Indo Chinese, and so many other monsoon staples inspire nostalgia and comfort in monsoon

"Spicy and crunchy foods like vadas, bhajjiyas, samosas, Indo Chinese, and so many other monsoon staples inspire nostalgia and comfort. Rains bring a surge of cravings for fried and spicy foods," says Dr Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness and Nutritional Scientist, Co-Founder- Food Darzee.

Is this a mass-fed notion or is there a scientific reason to these cravings?

Dr Bhargava says lack of sunlight in the rainy season could affect our happy hormones and this could make us crave for food that boosts production of these positive hormones.

WHY WE FAVOUR DEEP-FRIED FOOD DURING RAIN

"During monsoon, the levels of our happy hormone serotonin may see a dip. The reason for that is the lack of proper sunlight, which also affects the production of Vitamin D in the body. To adjust to these deficiencies our body craves carbohydrates as they are best known to boost the serotonin levels in the body. The boost, however, is very brief and that is also the reason for our constant cravings. Besides the carbohydrates, deep fried snacks lack the moisture, feel crunchy in the mouth and that gives us a sense of comfort around our damp conditions," says the expert.

REASON FOR OUR LOVE FOR SPICE IN MONSOON

Alongwith the crispy and fried snacks, our body craves and reacts well to spicy food in monsoon. Dr Bhargava also explains science behind this.

"Chillies have a compound called capsaicin which may trick the nerve receptors in our mouth into thinking that we have consumed something hot and the brain reacts to the same by making us sweat and also releasing happiness-inducing dopamine into our bloodstream," says the expert.

HEALTHY WAYS TO SATIATE MONSOON CRAVINGS

Deep-fried food is often calorie-laden and overconsuming these foods can play havoc with our health by raising weight and cholesterol levels. To avoid this unwanted weight gain, one can find healthy ways to satiate our taste buds and boost happy hormones.

Here are some suggestions by Dr Bhargava:

  • Roasted corn cobs with spices and butter and a dash of spice and lemon are already a popular Indian monsoon snack.
  • Sprouts salad, vegetable salad or corn salad with assorted vegetables and simple seasoning can make a colourful and appetizing snack.
  • Aloo chaat, aloo dahi chaat or baked aloo chaat is a healthy and delicious option.
  • Grilled sandwich with some fresh crisp vegetables is the best alternative to pakoras.
  • Roasted papad topped with chopped vegetables, mint chutney is a healthier option.
  • Murmura bhel with lots of vegetables or a bowl of popcorn satiates the cravings just as much as the packet of unhealthy chips does.

Monsoon cravings can be satiated with mindful food choices and consuming foods that also nourishes the body.

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