We may tell you this every year, but there’s a really good reason that we do! Monsoon snacks can be tempting, but indulging in them isn’t always a good idea. So, if you missed the memo last year, this refresher guide to monsoon indulgences will benefit you, says Katha Nauriyal
The monsoon brings with it a palette of new flavours and spices every year. And food invariably becomes our go-to option to cosy up with during the damp weather. While some food items serve as treats you can indulge in, others pose health risks that we are often oblivious to. So, to keep you fit all season, see what you should be eating and what you should be avoiding this monsoon.
FOOD TO AVOID
It’s raining feasts, and we often pay little heed to the health risks they bring with them. “After the scorching summer, rains sure bring happiness. But, they also causes health issues due to an imbalance of dosha, which according to ayurveda is a balance of three energies (Vata, Pitta and cough) that our body comprises. This imbalance leads to a fall in our digestive capacity as well as immunity. As people are prone to ailments such as food poisoning and indigestion, it is imperative to take certain precautions in order to keep our body healthy this season,” says Kanchan Patwardhan, clinical nutritionist consultant at Kanchan’s House of Health & Nutrition and Arogya Hospital.
While, your food cravings are exaggerated this season, tempting food can be the worst! And, what’s more tempting than a platter of hot pakoras? But, did you know these oily treats can hinder your digestion? Sure, no pakoras taste as heavenly as roadside options, but they are also less hygienic, since they are prepared in an open environment that can cause infections. While it’s safer to cook pakoras and other fried snacks like bhajiyas and samosas in your own kitchen, Kanchan adds, “It’s still not advisable to eat them because during this season, our digestion capacity drops and pakoras are made of besan, which leads to gastric issues.”
Chaat to chuck
Here goes another favourite out of the window! Put your paani puri, ragda pattis, bhel and all that street chaat on hold till the advent of the next season. As innocent as they may look, chaat is often made with contaminated water. Additionally, the chutneys that are used often cause health issues such as jaundice and amebiasis. “Chutneys made with green coriander rots very fast due to excessive moisture during the monsoon, and may contain microorganisms such as bacteria fungi, which begin to grow on them. Amoeba also develops rapidly on rotten coriander,” Kanchan adds.
Meat & Seafood
Have you been planning to take a break from meat? This is probably the best time! Red meat in particular, is heavy and difficult to digest. So to curb your cravings, binge on healthier options like chicken soup and stew. Additionally, cold chicken salads are also light, and easy to digest. However, remember to make sure that these are cleaned well and are consumed fresh. Similarly, seafood should also be consumed with a dose of caution. Monsoon is the breeding season for most fish and fresh catches are rare.
FOOD TO ENJOY
While, there are countless food items you should avoid consuming during this time of the year, monsoon also brings about a tray of healthy and flavoursome options for you to indulge in.
Warm up the beverages
Warm beverages are a great source of nutrition and have several health benefits. You can choose from an array of herbal teas with lemon, honey or ginger. “Tea stimulates gastric fire and appetite. It is a very good remedy for arthritis patients as it helps reduce stiffness and inflammation in your joints and muscles. Ginger tea, especially, is a very good remedy for the common cough, cold and other respiratory problems and reduces morning sickness,” says Kanchan. Similarly, soup and rasam increase gastric juices, which act as health boosters during monsoon. “The ingredients in the rasam, especially tamarind and tomatoes, are rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin C. So, they protect us from oxidative damages and prevent coughs and colds. Also, black pepper content not only helps us lose weight, it also removes toxins by making you sweat, helping your body to produce more urine while increasing metabolism,” she adds.
Bhutta — the ideal monsoon snack!
With a dash of salt and lemon, bhutta, or roasted corn, can be the best comfort food this season. It also has countless health benefits. Since it’s dry, it reduces water retention. The soluble and insoluble fibre keeps your stomach healthy. “Loaded with vitamins, these treats protect you from kidney and heart problems,” Kanchan signs off.