Pitter-patter, and the rains are here! Sail the boat of health absolutely safe this rainy season. Some very handy & crispy health tips are served to you while it is showering!
Summer to winter switch
The scorching summer has just gone by. Our body sweated to maintain the normal temperature and demanded water to quench the parched body.
Come rains, the sense of thirst declines as temperatures cool. However the body has not cooled enough. Mouth ulcers & skin rash among others may indicate this. So in the early monsoon months we need to consciously drink more water. Later, as humidity decreases our bodies require less water but more oil and food, especially carbohydrates that are easily absorbed and digested after having chewed well.
This is the time for 'visarg kaal' (southern solstice) whence the sun releases the strength to the people to enhance the energy reserves of the body depleted by the sun in the 'aadaan kaal' (northern solstice). Health is disturbed a lot due to the contradictory weather where the winds are cold and moist but the cooling earth is emitting heat. Amlapak rain water adds to the woe. Clean air, clean water, clean and dry clothes and body besides clean food are a prerequisite to staying healthy in rainy season.
The basic food law
In rainy season eat food that are conducive to such weather like sprouted grains, decoction or infusion of herbs and spices, oil emulsions, steamed salads, soaked dry fruits, etc. According to ‘Ayurvedic Ritucharya’, vatadosha (Vata dosha governs flow and motion in the body) is most troublesome now & should be taken care of by eating warm, moist & oily food preparations.
Following are the dos & don’ts during the rainy season
a) Water woes - Boiling the water is prescribed as it’s pure and light to digest. Tulsi and alum can also be used to enhance water quality. No fridge water, cold drinks & ice-creams please!!
b) Attend low appetites - Appetites are generally blunted. So keep the meals simple, light and easy on the stomach. These cause indigestion, constipation and flatulence. Use a pinch of ‘panchkol’ churna (a highly digestive ayurvedic powder) daily while preparing dal.
c) Grains & Pulses - This is the season to consume moong dal (green gram), maize, ragi, rajgira, urad (black gram), danamethi (fenugreek) and sprouts of other pulses. Corn is the flavour of the season. Drink chhachh (buttermilk) after it or apply sendha namak (rock salt) and ghee or butter on roasted corn. This not only adds a zing but aids in digestion.
d) Vital Veggies - Gourds, smooth and ridged gourds (chikni torai and torai), bottle gourd (lauki),and pumpkin are easily digested. Green vegetables--bathua, methi, chawali: be careful to clean them well preferably with warm water before you cut. Go for steamed salads & hot soups.
e) Fruits - Eat ample seasonal fruits like plums, mango, pomegranate, pear and jamun. Mango juice should be taken with little milk. Avoid outside fruit juices, non-seasonal fruits.
f) Dry fruits - Apricots, raisins, soaked almonds and anjeer are preferred.
g) Oil yourself - Fresh peanuts, coconut, flax seed, ghee, olive oil & butter are good to eat for natural oil beneficial to body. A well-oiled machine never rusts nor creaks. Likewise, a well-oiled body will not catch moisture and joints won’t crack.
h) Avoid - Brinjals, onions, melons and other water loaded fruits and vegetables. Avoid street side food, meat, rich foods and gravies, stale and dry food, cheese, milk and curd.
i) Rain Detox - The body in the rainy season is under a natural process of elimination. This can be used to get rid of skin and kidney problems by aiding the process and thus detoxify the whole system. Katu ras’ ( Bitter taste) imparted by haldi, karela, hing, papaya, neem, danamethi & urad when taken liberally regulates the carbohydrate metabolism very well.
Do the following:
- Take 1-2 spoons of honey with meals.
- Have variety of herbal teas (they act as high immunity boosters as well) like Mint tea, Tulsi, Lemon grass, Ginger, Black Pepper, Cinnamon and Green teas.
- 1-2 spoons of powdered badi harad (haritaki- terminalia chebula) with ‘sendhav namak’ once a day with water.
Worm infestations a common nuisance these days can be tackled with:
- Water which is boiled with wavding (black pepper like) seeds.
- Water of ajwain soaked overnight first thing in the morning with a dash of lemon and sendhav namak. Eat a few tender neem leaves after that.
3. Taking a grain of ‘hing’(asafoetida) early morning once in a fortnight.
Energise the environment
Perform a mini ‘havan’ daily with dried tulsi sticks, dried neem leaves, garlic peels, ajwain, guggul,ghee, camphor & turmeric powder. This is an age old remedy to curb the suspended air-borne microorganisms, mosquitoes, allergens & molds in our homes to keep respiratory problems at bay!
Add a sparkle
Spruce up oral health and add a sparkle to your teeth by brushing with fresh ‘neem’ dataun.
What NOT to do
Overeating, over exercise, overexertion, daytime sleeping, late night TV and dinner, getting wet in rains for too long and taking laxative when it is cloudy is strongly discouraged. Yoga, walking & stretching are preferred to stay fit these days.
When you slow down- fast!
It is for this reason perhaps most religion prescribe some form of feasting and fasting in this period like the ‘Chaturmas’ (4 holy months for Hindus), ‘Ramadan’(Muslims), ‘Paryushan Parva’ (Jains) and ‘Varshavas’ for Buddhists.
Flushing the body with fasting and then nourishing it charges the immune system.
Disease and dampness characterise this season. But little care and love for the body can turn the rains into times of romance and rejuvenation for you.
So, ‘row, row, row your health boat, gently down the stream..!