Top 9 Foods to be Included in your Diet For a Safe Monsoon HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.
Monsoon has started pouring in. Season change from extreme hot to pleasant and refreshing rainy season is surely soothing. But, rains also bring along its share of health concerns. From food poisoning, diarrhea, infections, cold, and flu to many other health risks, we can fall prey to a host of health issues in this season. And, when COVID-19 is wreaking havoc all over the world, monsoons could be even more dangerous to your health. Therefore, you need to make sure that the food you eat strikes the best balance between nutrition and immunity.
Immunity being the keyword in the current scenario, all we want now is to ensure that our innate immune system can take care of itself. So, eating right and being positive is the best way to go. Here we have rounded up nine food items that you should include in your monsoon diet to keep your immune system at its best!
Drink it as Haldi-Doodh at bedtime, add turmeric powder to your everyday food, or have freshly grated ginger-turmeric blend as a sidekick to your platter; turmeric, in any form, is excellent for your health. Not only during the monsoons, but it should be your go-to in every season.
It has antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. No wonder turmeric is called the golden spice of the kitchen. Not only does it boost your natural immunity, but it takes care of your overall health. The active potent compound in turmeric is curcumin that helps us keep healthy and fight infections.
#2 Probiotics and fermented food
You should include more probiotics and fermented food, like yogurt, buttermilk, pickled veggies, in your diet to make sure that your gut flora is happy. Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our gut or intestinal tract. These bacteria can help fight off disease-fighting germs as well as bad bacteria from thriving in our bodies.
#3 Lemon: Pulp + Zest
Lemon is pure vitamin C, and it is great for your immunity, the need of the hour. It fights infections, eases digestion, strengthens bones, and does a lot more good things for your body.
And did you know that lemon zest is as nutritious as the flesh? Full of bioactive compounds and flavonoids, lemon pulp+lemon zest is an incredible addition to your monsoon diet. Sprinkle lemon juice on your food, grind lemon zest to a dish, or simply drink a glass of lemonade, this citrusy delight will take care of your nutrition and immunity.
#4 Indian masala chai
When the perfect olio of spices, like ginger, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, tulsi leaves, and dried black pepper, goes into the boiling water with the right proportion of tea leaves and milk, a natural immunity-boosting brew goes in the making.
Cardamom and cloves are effective against many infections, and peppercorns prevent and soothe symptoms like cold and flu. Cinnamon is a bank of medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties too. So, even if you are not a tea drinker, consider masala tea as a medical concoction and steer the side effects of monsoon away.
Also named as the stinking rose, garlic comes with loads of health benefits. It fights the cold and flu-causing viruses and gives a boost to your immune system. Studies show that eating garlic on a daily basis increases the number of T-Cells in the blood, thus helping to protect you from viral infections like cold and flu. Alliin is a compound found in whole garlic. And, when you pound or bite garlic in raw form, alliin changes to allicin, the most potent ingredient found in garlic.
These compounds are loaded with medicinal properties and said to increase the disease-fighting response of your body. You can reap the best benefits of garlic by eating it raw.
#6 Nuts and dry fruits
Munching on dates, almonds, and walnuts is a good idea, no matter what the season. However, as these nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals, these are great options to add to your monsoon diet. Rich in riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamin E, these food items help to strengthen your immunity. Also, Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which helps in keeping your cells healthy.
If you are thinking of binge eating replace junk food and add nuts, dry fruits and seeds in your diet and make your nutrition complete with the bliss of immunity
Spinach is a superfood. It is a good source of vitamin A, E, and C, beta carotene, folic acid, and fiber. All these nutrients and antioxidants help your body to carry on its functions properly and bestow you with a great immune system thereby preparing you for the monsoons. Although you may find many references saying it”;s not good to have leafy veggies during monsoons owing to the mud and dirt sticking to them, you can always make sure to wash them really well before cooking.
#8 Bitter Gourd
Although the very mention of this veggie might make you hide inside your wardrobe, bitter gourds are rich in Vitamin C, and antiviral as well. So, the next time your mother cooks it, do taste it. You can have it boiled, stewed with other seasonal vegetables, or fried. Whichever form you like or don’t like, make sure to add it to your monsoon diet.
Ginger is an excellent herb with antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. It is also rich in antioxidants. No wonder, it is a go-to remedy for cold and cough, sore throat, body ache, among others, integral to every household. Ginger is also useful in boosting your immunity level. You can have it by steeping in water as ginger tea, or add it to soups and curries or have it with turmeric and milk as a soothing Haldi doodh.
Foods to Avoid During the Monsoon
Like we have the do’s for monsoon diet, we also have the don’ts. Let’s take a look at the foods you should avoid eating during the rainy season.
There is an irresistible string attached between the rains and pakoras and samosas, and everything fried and crisp. Munching on your favorite fried food might make you feel the bliss from inside your mouth, but these could make your tummy bloated. Humidity tends to slow down your metabolism, hence affecting your nutrition and immunity.
Frizzy carbonated beverages are tempting. However, these tend to lower the minerals’ level in your body, resulting in lower enzyme activity and a weak digestive system. So, whenever you feel like quenching your need for a cold drink, reach for a glass of nimbu paani, your daily dose of vitamin C.
Cravings of paani puri and papri chaat might comfort your taste buds, but these dishes are certainly not the right choice during monsoons considering the hygiene factor, with the air of the global pandemic surrounding us.
As the rainy season happens to be the breeding time for sea fish, it”;s better to avoid eating sea fish and have fresh-water fish and other forms of meat like chicken and mutton.
Always remember, your nutrition and immunity depends on the food you eat. Therefore, you should be conscious of what you are feeding in. In this tough time of the pandemic, when keeping your immunity uptight is highly crucial, do have a focus on your diet and safety as well.
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9 Tips to Fast Safely and Maintain Immunity During the Global Pandemic HealthifyMe Blog HealthifyMe Blog – The definitive guide to weight loss, fitness and living a healthier life.
The holy month of Ramadan is here, where Muslims around the globe observe fasts to celebrate the month-long festival. Generally, Ramadan involves social and religious gatherings. Muslims along with their friends and families get together to pray, as well as, to break their fasts. However, amidst the global pandemic, Ramadan has taken on a new meaning where social gatherings have been banned, everyone has been confined to their homes, and maintaining a healthy immune system has become paramount in keeping oneself healthy while fasting.
Since, our immune system is responsible for warding off viruses and germs and protecting us against diseases, it is important to take measures and ensure that our immune system remains strong. According to recent studies, although the amount of necessary nutrition intake does not change, fasting Muslims need to ensure that the necessary nutrients are included in their Suhoor and Iftaar. Moreover, as fasting lasts for a long period, people tend to prefer sweet foods and drinks which reduces the opportunity in fulfilling the nutritional intake needed by the immune system. Therefore, one must follow a healthy and balanced diet that is packed with enough vitamins and minerals for they tend to remain in the body for a long period.
In addition, here are a few tips that will help you maintain a healthy immune system while fasting during Ramadan.
1. Drink enough water
Maintaining fluid levels during the season of Ramadan is very important mainly due to the long hours of fasting and high temperatures. Water helps maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body and it is necessary for the absorption of many nutrients. Therefore, drinking at least two cups of water during Suhoor and spreading out two liters of water between Iftaar and Suhoor is important. This way you not only keep your body hydrated and prepared for the rest of the day but you also naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause infections.
2. Get adequate sleep
In general people sleep during the night for six-eight hours, however, this is not possible during Ramadan. Trying to make up for the lost sleep is key to maintaining health and wellbeing during this period. Therefore, try going to bed at 11 p.m post Iftaar and then wake up at 3.30 a.m for Suhoor and Fajr, and then one can return to sleep at 6 a.m for two hours. This routine may require you to sacrifice or reduce spending time with family or going about other activities, but your body will surely thank you for ensuring enough sleep. Following such routines not only strengthens your immune system but also makes Ramadan fasting a healthy and enjoyable experience.
3. Consume more vegetables, fruits, and protein
During fasting, one is more prone to a slowed metabolism as well as muscle tissue breakdown. To prevent this, eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods during the early morning time and evening is cardinal. Consuming more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, lentils, and protein-rich foods not only keeps you full for longer but also ensures your blood sugar levels are intact. Moreover, Choosing healthy foods over processed, and packaged foods help in keeping cells active and healthy, thereby providing the body with enough nutrients required to fight infections and build immunity.
4. Add enough fiber to your diet in the morning and avoid carbs and fatty foods at night
Consuming high fiber and whole-grain foods are recommended during Suhoor as it promotes better satiety, improved lipid levels, and bowel function. Therefore, vitamin B, A, C, E, and D fruits and vegetables should be added to your diet. However, it has been advised by several nutritionists to avoid carbs and fatty foods (fried or processed) during Iftaar. This is because they not only contribute to weight gain but also cause acidity and indigestion. Nevertheless, our body still requires fats for hormone production, maintenance of cell membrane health and absorption of vitamins. So, the key is to add healthy fats and carbs such as eggs, avocado, flaxseed, nuts, and meat to your diet. This way you stay healthy, keep your immune system top-notch, and are prepared for Ramadan fasting.
5. Have plenty of fermented foods
Fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh, and kefir destroy “;bad”; bacteria and reinforce “;good”; ones. These acidic byproducts protect the intestines against “;harmful”; bacteria and other invasive microorganisms. Apart from protecting us, these foods also improve digestibility and nutrient absorption. “;Good”; bacteria also activate the synthesis of certain vitamins in the digestive tract, creating an internal nutrient factory. Most importantly, fermented foods boost the immune system and prevent us from diarrhea, infections (salmonella), and other digestive disorders that lead to intestinal and respiratory disorders, and allergies. So, this Ramadan, do not shy away from adding these foods in your diet for they are significant in ensuring your overall well being.
It can be hard to maintain a normal workout during Ramadan, due to interrupted sleep and lack of liquids in the body. However, in order to remain healthy and keep your immune system functioning properly, finding the time to exercise will bring about many benefits. Exercising during this period will help keep your energy levels high, your mind stress-free, and metabolism steady. One can focus on exercise formats from strength training to cardio or just enhancing one”;s flexibility. However, one must make sure the intensity of these exercises is not high as it may lead to you compromising your health. Simple exercises such as taking small walks, climbing stairs, doing stretches will suffice largely during this period.
The best time to exercise would be either 90 minutes before sunset or after your evening meal. This way you are all set to get the workout in and get the replenishment you need after.
7. Rid your body of toxins
Adding greens such as dill, parsley, and mint can be consumed especially during Sahoor, as they both refresh the breath and purify the body. These greens can be added to your salads or yogurt finely chopped. These herbs are also high in antioxidants and can strengthen immunity and rid your body of toxins. Apart from greens, having herbal teas or black tea with lemon would also be good for your body. However, if you are not a fan of tea or greens, you can always make soup with lentils, chickpeas, oats, or chicken.
8. Stay away from caffeinated drinks
Coffee and some other carbonated drinks have a good amount of caffeine in them which when had lead to restlessness and insomnia. Besides, these drinks don”;t hydrate and keep you longing for water the whole day. So staying away from these drinks and opting for plain water or coconut water are the best alternatives during fasting.
9. Avoid overeating
In general, people are of the idea that they have to dump in loads of food during their eating window to sustain for a long time. However, this is not the case as hoarding food during late evening not only disrupts your sleep but also brings about other problems such as indigestion and other gastric issues. Therefore, during Ramadan, eating normal meal sizes will help you feel more at ease, get better sleep, and even lose weight during the fasting period. If you are looking for meal replacements, you can always add a protein shake 1-2 hours before you sleep. This way your hunger levels are in tune and satiety levels in place.
As this will be our first Ramadan during a pandemic, it is important to have faith, pray, share, and most importantly care. It is also imperative that we pay attention to what our body needs and do what”;s best for it. Apart from the tips that are mentioned above with regards to nutrition and immunity, we must also make sure to stick to the things that we do know: frequent hand washing, hygiene, social distancing, and self-isolation.
Happy Ramadan and Eid Mubarak in advance!
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