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... and when it rains

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The monsoon may be very welcome after too much sun, but be careful of the health risks, says Gaurav Aggarwal

Monsoon showers are welcome as a relief from the scorching heat of the sun after the summer season.  However, this season is also accompanied by a number of health risks. The damp and filthy conditions in the monsoon play host to many disease-causing pathogens, which may further cause health issues like cold, cough, conjunctivitis, typhoid, viral fever, pneumonia, gastro-intestinal disturbances, diarrhea and dysentery. If your immune system is weak you may catch these diseases instantly. Health problems related to food and water are always on a rise during this season.

The right food plays a very important role in keeping the body healthy during the  monsoon. Special care is required in selecting, cooking and storing foodstuff.

Here are some tips to stay healthy and away from infections in the monsoon

Always wash vegetables well and keep them clean, especially if they are taken raw.

Do not buy cut fruits and vegetables from the market or even eat salads in places where large- scale cooking is done like in parties and restaurants.

The best vegetables to include in the diet during this season are bitter gourd (karela), neem, haldi (turmeric) and methi (fenugreek) to avoid bacterial infections.

Vegetables like cabbage cauliflower, spinach and beans should be washed in salt and turmeric water before cooking to kill the germs thriving on them.

A large quantity of fruits and vegetables should not be stored in the fridge as they tend to rot in a day or two.

Special attention must be given to storing of foods. Lentils and other food grains must be stored in dry places as there can be growth of fungus when stored in damp places.

Street-side food must be avoided especially in the monsoon to avoid infections.

Wash your hands while you handle food items.

The body’s immunity can be increased by adding a dash of garlic to the soups, stir-fries and curries you consume.

Opt for yogurt, curd and almonds in your diet instead of milk.

Drink lots of herbal teas, especially those with antibacterial properties. These include ginger, pepper, honey, mint and basil leaves. Excessive intake of coffee and tea dehydrates body fluids so they must be better avoided.

Eat steamed salads instead of raw vegetables as they contain active bacteria and virus that may cause bacterial and viral infections.

Avoid eating fried items, pre-cut fruits and juices from roadside vendors and stick to high quality and hygiene.

Non-vegetarian foods like raw eggs and seafood must be avoided in this season. Monsoon is the breeding season for some fishes and prawns, which can cause severe stomach infections. One must be very cautious while buying seafood.

During monsoons, people tend to eat roadside food (like Wada pav, bhajji, samosa and pani puri. This may make your health really unfavourable. The common health issues such as diarrhea and common cold can spread from one person to another through air and water. Thus, to stay healthy avoid roadside food consumption as it is highly infectious.

Drink only boiled and purified water to protect from harmful germs. We have known the fact for long that boiled water kills all germs and micro-organisms present in water. During the monsoon, water is filled with harmful micro-organisms; it is really important to boil water before consumption. You must boil water to 100 degrees and then let it cool down. Thereafter you can easily drink it.

Gaurav Aggarwal is CEO, One Life India

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