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Monsoon brings cool showers with it and refreshes our senses from the summer lethargy. It is the season of new growth and nourishment. And with nourishment, we mean that you need to focus essentially on your monsoon diet. The rainy season is the time for gourds like bottle gourd, bitter gourd, ash gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd, and other veggies that are available in plenty. Other than gourds, monsoon bounty includes cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and okra too. Adding these veggies liberally to your regular diet plan aids to foster good gut health and immune activity. Whereas, eating some vegetables may weigh heavily on your immune response during the monsoon season.
Health Shots got in touch with Dr Rohini Patil, a nutritionist and dietitian, who rolled out a list of veggies that may not be the best pick for you during the monsoon season.
“Monsoon is the perfect time for breeding of various microbes and bacteria, which can easily contaminate these green vegetables. The soil in which they grow could be highly contaminated too, and then it is very easy for them to leech into the leaves of these veggies. The leafier the plant, the easier it is for them to find home. Hence, avoiding them would be a good option, but if you still want to eat them, make sure you boil and then cook them for at least 30 minutes to kill the bacteria.” says Dr Patil.
The purple bulb-like veggie contains a group of chemical compounds known as alkaloids. These are the toxic chemicals that such vegetables develop to protect themselves from insects and pests. Since the infestation of pests is highest during rainy seasons, the consumption of eggplant or baingan should be limited. The symptoms of alkaloid allergy include hives, itchy skin, nausea, and skin rashes. So, keep that baingan bharta for later, ladies!
Bell peppers are a very popular vegetable in summer. They are delicious and full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, bell peppers can cause problems when included in your monsoon diet. They contain chemicals called glucosinolates that break down into isothiocyanates when they’re cut or chewed. These chemicals can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and breathing problems when eaten raw or cooked. The symptoms usually last for several hours after eating the food. Thus, it is best to avoid them altogether.
Cauliflowers or phool gobhi has high moisture content and its leaves are similar to those of the cabbage family. This makes it very easy to confuse with cabbage, which is another member of the same botanical family as cauliflower. The main reason why we should avoid cauliflower in the monsoon is because it contains compounds called glucosinolates that can cause problems for people who are allergic or sensitive to them. The best way to avoid these chemical compounds is by not eating them at all!
Dr Patil says, “Bottle gourd, also known as lauki, has long been regarded as one of the best and healthiest vegetables available during this season. It is high in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, which aids in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Aside from that, it contains iron and is high in vitamins B and C, which aid in anti-oxidative properties. The pulp of the veggie keeps the stomach cool and its antibilious properties remove excess bile from the body. Bottle gourd is also effective against fever, cough and other disorders that occur mostly during the rainy season.”
Bitter gourd is highly recommended during the monsoon season because it contains a high concentration of minerals, vitamin C, and antioxidants, all of which are necessary to protect the body from seasonal diseases. Despite its bitter taste, the benefits of this vegetable outweigh the flavour. Furthermore, the vegetable regulates blood sugar levels, making it ideal for diabetic people. Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, is one among the best healthy vegetables in the rainy season.
Dr Patil suggests, “The anthelmintic activity of this vegetable is effective against a group of parasites or worms found on the intestines. As we know that gastrointestinal parasites are higher during the rainy season; the veggie helps kill those microbes and promote good digestive health.”
Many of us have low haemoglobin levels. None of the other monsoon vegetables improves these levels as much as beetroot. Since beetroot contains high levels of manganese, fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and iron, it is a nutritional powerhouse. Consume it regularly as juice, soup, salad, or chips to reap health benefits such as improved blood circulation and blood pressure regulation. Because of beetroot’s high immunity levels, it is a prime example of a vegetable to eat during the rainy season.
Beetroot is a health promoting and disease preventing veggie of the rainy season. The active compounds in beetroot are well-absorbed by the intestinal cells. Beetroot is very effective in maintaining the microbiome of the gut and its antimicrobial effects prevent the outgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Although cucumber can be grown all year, the monsoon season is ideal for growing this low-calorie snack. Cucumber is an easy-to-grow vegetable that loves water and sun, cucumbers grow in a snap as they receive constant watering and warmth. It can easily thrive in a small space because of its climbing abilities.
“Cucumbers are perfect for your salads, they also make a great filling for your sandwiches. Low in calories and high in water, it’s great for a snack in the afternoon. It’s also yum raw or sliced and infused in water, keeping hydrated helps flush out toxins and keeps the body functioning optimally,” Dr Patil told HealthShots.
Your food habits say a lot about you! Enjoy all the monsoon bounties with care and you’ll not catch the flu or cough despite the temperature fluctuations.