A guide to surviving the monsoon bug
Many a time the stomach bug is not only caused by food but also through contaminated water
With the onset of the monsoons, I see the dreadful stomach bugs that accompany this weather. A runny, cramping or bloaty stomach is all part of the rains. The stomach bugs can be a mixture of some brutal symptoms such as chills, fever, nausea etc. that eventually transition into body aches, vomiting or diarrhea. Naturally, no one likes falling sick. But sometimes, it hits you without warning and takes the mickey out of you. The duration of the stomach flu cannot be generalised as it depends largely on the individual's immunity. A healthy individual that has a balanced diet and a smooth-running digestive tract is more likely to recover faster. So, to put it simply, what you eat now will help you bounce back in times of need.
I always tell my clients that a stomach bug runs its course. That said, the remedies below may provide relief from the most difficult symptoms and help get you back on your feet once the toughest phase subsides.
I am a strong believer that prevention is the best cure so I am going to give you a few minor tips that will enable you to avoid these monsoon bugs.
I make it a point to begin the day with hot water with grated ginger and squeeze lemon on the top. Lemon prevents acidity and ginger prevents bloating, indigestion and nausea.
I insist that everybody add one or two pieces of cloves, a pinch of cinnamon, and a few pieces of garlic to their food to prevent water borne infections like E. coli and salmonella as it works effectively as a natural antibacterial agent. A hot piping rasam can easily have a tempering of cloves, garlic and cinnamon.
A glass of buttermilk made from filtered or boiled water is so important to include daily. The friendly bacteria present in buttermilk are great for gut health and prevent gastrointestinal disorders that are prevalent in the monsoons.
As usual, I will ask everyone to shift to seasonal vegetables and if you are smart you will do so to. Luckily, we have so many that we can choose from. The plump and juicy water-based white gourd, bottle gourd, pointed gourd, ridge gourd, bitter gourd, pumpkins, cluster beans and sword beans taste delicious in this season. They can also be added to your vegetables, soup, stews, curries, dals, etc. These vegetables taste yum when accompanied with roti and rice with a dollop of ghee.
Many a time the stomach bug is not only caused by food but also through contaminated water. It is very important to ensure that you have only boiled and filtered water at room temperature. Sherbets, sugarcane juice, fruit juices aerated drinks and chilled beverages including cold buttermilk and milkshakes cannot be part of your diet.
Common sense suggests that we eat cooked vegetables and stay away from uncooked street foods and also cooked street food that are cold. Out goes the roadside chaats, sandwiches, etc. If one eats food out of the home, then they should stick to cooked food.
In the monsoon you need to stay away from cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and leafy greens as they are full of worms and have a peculiar smell. The texture is chewy unlike the winter when they are tender.
I would suggest you keep up good personal hygiene – wash your hands before and after every meal.
Do not fret and prevent the stomach bug and enjoy this beautiful season. I have got you covered with these little tips.