Monsoon is a season of infections and compromised immunity. Elevated humidity, unhealthy conditions and water contamination from overflowing sewage and heavy rainfall create an environment conducive to microbial growth, increasing the risk of illness. While taking precautions is one thing, maintaining a robust immune system is of utmost importance. According to a dietitian, eating healthy monsoon vegetables can help you stay healthy and boost your immunity.
Anjana B Nair, Consultant Dietitian, Motherhood Hospitals, HRBR Layout Bengaluru, tells Health Shots that during the monsoon when infections are more common, certain vegetables provide essential nutrients like vitamin C and zinc which can enhance the body’s defense mechanisms. Thus, their consumption aids in maintaining overall health and resilience against seasonal illnesses.
Here are 5 immune boosting vegetables to consume in the monsoon:
Spinach, a well-known superfood, is a nutritional powerhouse that should find a regular place on your plate. Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, along with minerals like iron and folate, spinach is an immune-boosting vegetable. These nutrients work together to strengthen your immune system, support healthy cell function, and promote overall well-being. Whether added to salads, soups, or smoothies, spinach is a versatile vegetable that can be easily incorporated into various dishes.
Known for its vibrant colour and distinct flavour, red bell pepper is not only visually appealing but also a great immunity enhancer. Packed with vitamin C, this vegetable plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, boosting collagen production, and improving the immune system against infections. Nair says, “Additionally, red bell peppers contain antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, contributing to a strong defense against illnesses.”
Broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, is known for its high content of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Rich in vitamins C, E, and antioxidants, broccoli supports immune function by neutralizing harmful substances and promoting the body’s ability to fight off infections. Sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, has also been linked to improved immune responses and reduced inflammation. Including broccoli in your monsoon diet can contribute to a well-rounded and robust immune system.
Carrots are a staple in many households, and their benefits for the immune system are not to be underestimated. Nair says, ‘Bursting with beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, carrots play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and mucous membranes—the body’s first line of defense against pathogens.” Additionally, vitamin A supports the production of white blood cells, which are integral to the immune response. Enjoy carrots as a crunchy snack, blend them into juices, or add them to stews for a nourishing boost.
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While the name might not sound appealing, bitter gourd offers a unique set of health benefits that are worth exploring. “Bitter gourd is known for its potential to regulate blood sugar levels, but it also contributes to immunity due to its high concentration of vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamin C, bitter gourd aids in strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation,” says Nair. Including this slightly bitter vegetable in your diet can provide a distinctive flavor and immune-boosting benefits.
Ladyfinger, also known as okra, is another monsoon vegetable that can work wonders for your immune system. Rich in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants, okra helps combat oxidative stress and promotes overall immune health. Additionally, its dietary fiber content supports digestive health, which in turn plays a role in maintaining a strong immune response. Whether used in sabzi, stir-fries, or soups, ladyfinger is a versatile vegetable that adds both flavor and nutrition to your meals.
Keep in mind that apart from adding these vegetables to your diet for strong immunity, maintaining a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and practicing good hygiene are all important factors in supporting a strong immune system!