The monsoon is fast approaching. The onset of rains heralds a number of diseases. In summer, due to lack of moisture, the pathogenic bacteria and viruses (disease-causing bacteria and viruses) are almost static. They form spores and remain inactive. The monsoon waters provide moisture to these sterile microbes and they become very active and multiply very fast. These germs, present in air, enter human bodies either through air, water or food.
Hence, there are certain preliminary precautions which need to be taken to avoid diseases like jaundice, cholera, typhoid or food poisoning.
- Drink only boiled and filtered water and make sure that it is consumed within 24 hours of boiling: The ideal way of boiling water is to let it boil for ten minutes after reaching boiling point, that is, after it starts bubbling. Drink enough water at safe places like home or in the office to avoid need to drink water outside. In unavoidable circumstances, drink coconut water or tetra packed drinks.
- Avoid eating outside: Mutton and other non-vegetarian items should be totally avoided. Foodstuffs like sandwiches should not be eaten outside because of the quality of water used while washing vegetables. The water used in making chutneys may be contaminated. Opt for only steaming hot items like idli-sambhar minus the chutney, if it is unavoidable to eat outside.
- Stick to freshly cooked food: But if you prefer frozen food or readymade food, heat it before eating.
- Eat less during the rains is an adage to be followed religiously: Because of the climate, the entire body becomes sluggish, the metabolism slows down and the total energy burning process is therefore reduced considerably. So, a lot of food is not needed by the body. In other words, eat only what is essential.
- Select what to eat: The word 'select' denotes choosing the right food. The feeling of fullness is often noticed and digestion process is slowed in the rainy season which often leads to incomplete digestion and gas formation. So eat lots of vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid eating fried foods as well as rich foods: Like cream, milk, paneer, mutton and pulses which ferment in the body and cause indigestion and stomach distention.
- Fruits and vegetables to be eaten during monsoon: Vegetables recommended during rains are non-leafy ones such as snake guard (torai), gourd (lauki), pointed gourd (parwal), yam (suran), cluster beans (gawar), apple gourd (tinda) and bitter gourd (karela). Only seasonal fruits are recommended because non-seasonal ones tend to be infested with worms during the monsoons. Among fruits, pomegranates, mangoes, bananas, apples, litchi and cherries are recommended.
- Food to avoid during monsoon: Avoid eating chaats, fried foods, juices, cut fruits and vegetables from roadside vendors.
- While travelling if hungry: Instead of eating samosas, golgappas, vada pav etc., go for bhuna chana (roasted chana / black gram), popcorns, other foods rich in antioxidants, Vit A, Vit C, Vit E, selenium and B12. Like berries, plums, raisins etc.
- Consuming heavy oils like mustard and sesame can increase the concentration of pitta and can make the body vulnerable to infections: Oils like corn or olive oils are best suited during the rainy season.