Foolproof guide on staying healthy this monsoon

Foolproof guide on staying healthy this monsoon

Monsoon brings refreshing rains and a wave of common illnesses. Celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar shares expert advice from her audiobook, ‘Eating in The Age of Dieting,’ on how to stay healthy this season with simple yet powerful dietary choices. Here are five foods she recommends to boost health and immunity during the monsoon!

Are people around you “under the weather” lately? The damp and humid environment creates a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, leading to an increase in common illnesses like colds and flu. However, celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar in her audiobook, ‘Eating in The Age of Dieting’ on Audible, elaborates on how maintaining good health during the monsoon is easier than we think. Here are 5 foods that Rujuta recommends everyone must consume to optimise their health and immunity during this wonderful season!

1. Sip Your Way to Health with Spiced-Up Chai

With monsoon comes the desire to sit by the window sipping a hot cup of chai. This is why Rujuta suggests three easy tips to make that hot cup of tea not only calming but also healthy for the body. She recommends the following:

• Add ginger and tulsi for digestion and immunity

• Add lemongrass to prevent bloating and congestion

• Add black pepper or cinnamon to improve insulin sensitivity

2. Supercharge Your Immunity with Indigenous Produce

Sharing an insight on consuming locally grown vegetables, Rujuta shares, “The soil during the rains is not suitable for growing green leafy vegetables, and therefore we shift to creepers like dudhi (bottle gourd), pumpkin, karela (bitter gourd), gilka (ridge gourd) and root vegetables like sweet potato, suran (elephant foot yam) and konfal (purple yam). The exception to this rule is the wild and uncultivated greens that shoot up during the season - ambadi (roselle plant), shevla (dragon stalk yam), lingri (fiddlehead fern), to name a few…It’s very important for your gut bacterial diversity and acts as a booster shot for immunity.”

3. Embrace Nutrient-Rich Grains and Millets

When it comes to monsoons, Rujuta strongly recommends Nachini - “You can eat it as porridge, bhakhri or even a papad.” Additionally, she urges everyone to avoid multigrain breads, attas and biscuits and suggests seasonal substitutes for them. “The season also comes with festivals and special months like Shravan, where the focus shifts to eating smaller millets like Rajgira, Samo, Kuttu, Mandua, etc. Again, have them in traditional preps and in combination with dahi, makhan etc, to ensure optimum assimilation.”

4. Power Up with Pulses (Nature’s Protein) During the Wet Season

Rujuta Diwekar sheds light on a fascinating tradition: during monsoons, Indians historically substituted meat and fish with carefully dried and stored pulses from the summer months. These became a source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and even fibre during the season. “The best ones turn into usals, the next grains to dals, the one after that to vadis that can be cooked as sabzi and is often a mix of many pulses and papads. You must incorporate two important pulses in your meals this season: kulith (horsegram), and alsane (Goa beans), great for skin and hair.”

5. Savour Bhajiyas But With a Healthy Twist

As the monsoon rains bring their earthy petrichor scent, cravings for comforting foods naturally arise. Talking about the season’s speciality, ‘deep-fried bhajiyas’, she advices, “Use filtered groundnut, mustard or coconut oils, and don’t reuse the oil for cooking afterwards. Without essential fats in the diet, vitamin D cannot be assimilated. Essential fats also help in regulating blood sugar. So apart from being tasty, deep-fried pakoras are healthy too, and for everyone, heart patients, obese and diabetics included, eat them without fear and with the confidence that you know when to stop eating.”

Insufficient calorie intake during monsoons can weaken our immunity and make us prone to infections, fevers and other ailments. Contrary to popular belief, Rujuta says, “Your taste buds are not against your weight loss plans. They are simply against your plan to lose your immunity and to guard you against a possible crash of your immune system.” For more expert advice, tune into ‘Eating in the Age of Dieting’ on Audible to optimise your health and well-being, not just during the monsoon, but throughout the year.

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