The rainy season is always welcome after months of scorching heat. But along with the showers, the monsoon season brings with it bouts of illnesses and seasonal allergies. Many of us fall prey to monsoon illnesses like diarrhea, malaria, cholera, typhoid, dengue, chikungunya, besides cold, cough and viral fever. It is of utmost importance that we take care of our health and our family’s wellbeing during the rainy season.
Why we suffer from monsoon illnesses
According to Ayurveda, Vata is an important dosha, which governs all activities in the mind and body including the flow of blood, elimination of wastes, breathing as well as the movement of thoughts in our mind. During the rainy season, Vata gets aggravated, and gives rise to impaired digestion, low immunity, and makes our body weak. Impaired digestion leads to improper end product of the food which is known as ama that is the causative factor in many diseases including a simple rhinitis.
Ayurvedic tips to stay fit in monsoon
Ayurveda suggests several dietary tips to keep our digestive system fit and healthy. By following these tips, our immune system gets strong and helps to fight bacteria in our body.
Ayurveda suggests avoiding food that is uncooked and raw. We should eat only well-cooked food and maintain hygiene while cooking. We should avoid eating street food during monsoon because street foods remain in the open for a long time and get infected with bacteria, making the food unfit for consumption.
Foods made from barley, rice and wheat are good to consume during the rainy season. Include cow’s ghee, lentils, green gram, rice and wheat in your diet daily. Have a small piece of ginger with rock salt before every meal. Sour and salted soups of vegetables and moong dal soup help to boost immunity. They help toxins of the body to get flushed out.
According to Ayurvedic principles, bitter-tasting vegetables and herbs are good to neutralise Pitta. So during monsoon, try to eat a lot of bitter vegetables like bitter gourd (karela) and bitter herbs like neem, fenugreek and turmeric. This will help to keep infections and the other illnesses associated with Pitta at bay.
Avoid spicy and greasy food as chillies and hot spices might hinder proper digestion. Uncooked foods like salads are best avoided.
Drinking boiled and cooled water mixed with little honey is recommended. Also, try to drink as much fluids as you can to prevent slowing down of metabolism. You may have buttermilk instead of curd.
Ayurveda suggests Panchkarma, a five-fold healing process to remove toxins from the body. These toxins give rise to diseases. This complete mind-body healing process should be done under the guidance of a professional. This healing process restores balance in the body through herbs and oil massages, thereby rejuvenating the body and mind.
Some dos and dont’s during monsoon season
Avoid foods that are not palatable with your digestive system during monsoon. Some of these include grains like raagi, bajari, maize, barley. Vegetables like spinach, cabbage, peas. Lentils like masoor, chana. Fruits like black plum, jackfruit, cucumber, watermelon, and muskmelon. Also, avoid buffalo milk and paneer.
Drink normal temperature water and not extremely cold water.
Do not sleep during the day, it makes you lethargic and digestion takes time.
Use light oils like olive oil, ghee or sunflower oil to cook food. Lighter oils are better and easily digested by the body during monsoons. Do not use mustard oil, peanut oil, or butter as these are heavy and lead to generation of heat in the body.
Avoid sour items like chutneys and pickles. Incorporate lots of tulsi or green teas in your diet as they have healing properties.
Keep your house clean and don’t let the disease-spreading mosquitoes breed. For a natural way out, use fumes of fried neem leaves as a mosquito repellent.