Health expert shares nutrition tips to keep cold and flu at bay

In monsoon include foods rich in immune-boosting nutrients. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Falling sick during the monsoon is frequent and annoyingly inevitable for the majority of us. Given the number of diseases that people contract during the Mumbai monsoons as a result of poor sanitation and frequent flooding in the city, surviving them is also difficult. It becomes essential in these situations to adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat the correct meals to maintain fitness and health.

Mid-day online spoke to a health expert who shares ways to protect yourself from various monsoon-related health concerns just by eating the right food.
“Feeding the body with certain correct dietary requirements can help support your health and boost the immunity to fight off viral infections,” says Dr Murarji Ghadge, ENT consultant surgeon, sleep specialist at Ruby Hall clinic.

He lists down some general eating habits that you can follow:

Consume a balanced diet
During monsoon, focus on a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. This provides essential nutrients to support your immune system and overall health.

Boost immunity
Include foods rich in immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and antioxidants.

Support respiratory health
Certain foods can help support respiratory health during weather changes. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E as they have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit the respiratory system.

Limit processed foods
Try to minimize the consumption of processed and highly refined foods, as they tend to be low in nutrients and may contribute to inflammation and weakened immune function. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

Be mindful of food safety
During weather changes, be conscious of food safety practices to prevent foodborne illnesses. Store perishable foods properly, maintain proper cooking temperatures and avoid consuming expired or spoiled food.

Listen to your body
Everyone’s body responds differently to weather changes. Pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods and adjust accordingly. If you notice specific foods causing discomfort or worsening symptoms, consider avoiding or moderating your intake of those foods.

Drink plenty of water
Regardless of the weather, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to maintain hydration levels.

Ghadge suggests some foods for consumption during monsoon:

Fruits and vegetables
Include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Aim for a colourful assortment that includes berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers and sweet potatoes.

Lean proteins
Include lean protein sources in your meals, such as poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and tofu. These provide essential amino acids for tissue repair and immune function.

Whole grains
Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread and oats. They provide complex carbohydrates for sustained energy and essential nutrients.

Healthy fats
Incorporate sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil. These provide important nutrients and support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Probiotic-rich foods
Consume foods that contain beneficial bacteria, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. Probiotics support gut health and contribute to a strong immune system.

Herbs and spices
Use herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and oregano in your meals. They not only add flavour but also possess antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamin C-rich foods
Include foods high in vitamin C to support immune health. Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamin C

Foods high in water content
Consume foods with high water content to stay hydrated. Watermelons, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and soups can help replenish fluids.

Warm and comforting foods
There is nothing more soul-satisfying than consuming warm and nourishing foods like soups, stews, herbal teas, and warm beverages during cold weather. These can provide comfort and help maintain body temperature.

Adaptogenic foods
Consider incorporating adaptogenic foods like ashwagandha, tulsi, and medicinal mushrooms (reishi, cordyceps) into your diet. They are believed to support the body’s resilience to stress and help maintain overall well-being.

Also Read: 5 homemade remedies to attain facial glow this monsoon

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