BENGALURU: Monsoon brings with it the urge to gorge on pakoras. And along with the season also come increased chances of infections. However, with the raging pandemic, deep-fried snacks that are synonymous with the rain, are best avoided, according to experts. “As much as they say that rains are all about pakoras, bajjis and bondas, the high-fat content in these can slow down your digestion and cause trouble. Using an air fryer or an oven is a good alternative.
Also, make sure that oils are not reused over and over, as that too can cause digestive problems,” says Abhilasha V, senior clinical nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals. Restorative fluids like ginger soup, which is comforting on a cold, rainy day, help prevent the cold, cough and fevers associated with the season, she adds.
Chef Nikhil Baveja from Hard Rock Cafe suggests that mushrooms and seafood should be avoided too. “A lot of garlic and turmeric can be included in food during these times since they have antiseptic properties. Vegetables like beans, bitter gourd and lady finger which are rich in Vitamin-C, magnesium and antioxidant properties are also good options,” he says, while also including fruits like apples, jamun, litchi, plums, cherries, peaches, papayas, pears and pomegranates in the list of recommendations to improve the immune system.
Tea, of course, remains the top monsoon beverage, since it can be an immunity booster. “Monsoons are anyway synonymous with chai and the different herbs used to make it can give a great boost to immune systems,” says Raghav Verma, co-founder, Chaayos. “For example, ginger is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, while tulsi is rich in Vitamin-C and zinc, and black pepper warms the body and rids it of toxins. It goes great with chai and works wonders for a sore throat,” he adds.
With a sharp decrease in physical activities these days, Pavithra N Raj, dietician, Columbia Asia referral hospital Yeshwanthpur, gives four major foods that need to to be incorporated in the diet during this season -- proteins to fight against infections, antioxidants to protect the cells against free radicals, zinc to build immunity, and Vitamin-D for the nerves and bones. “Use black pepper in omelettes, soups and khichdi, since it helps in maintaining the body temperature in monsoon, consume milk with turmeric as it helps relieve stress, and munch on nuts and oil seeds for protein. If at all you are consuming food outside, ensure that the water is safe. You can also boil cumin and ajwain seeds in water, and consume it to aid digestion,” she says.
Carrot ginger soup
1. In a cooker, saute one chopped onion in one teaspoon oil or butter.
2. Add one piece of ginger, half teaspoon turmeric and saute well. Add four chopped carrots. Saute for some time and add water.
3. Pressure cook for two whistles. Cool, blend and serve hot with some pepper sprinkles.
4. You can also add some ginger powder for more zing.