Immunity-boosting diet 101: What you need to eat each season to stay strong

You know what immunity-boosting foods are good for you. But to keep your body’s defence mechanism strong is also eating according to the season.
Immunity-boosting diet
All foods are meant for all seasons. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Arati Soman Updated: 16 May 2021, 21:55 pm IST
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Every season changes the environment around us and these external changes in the surroundings can have a deep impact on our body’s internal system. On a daily basis, we are constantly exposed to potentially harmful microbes of all kinds. 

We tend to get infected or affected with such microbes causing diseases or infections in the body. Planning your diet and eating according to the seasons can give you a lot of health benefits—including make you more energetic, boosting your immune system, and preventing multiple complications. It also keeps a check on unwanted weight gain, indigestion, stomach infections, respiratory problems, and other health-related issues

Eating proper food with required nutrients in adequate quantities helps boost the function of immune cells and enhances a healthy immune system. Certain dietary patterns may better prepare the body for microbial attack, excess inflammation and recurrent infections. To help the body adapt, it is therefore important to follow a food regimen during a particular season.

According to Ayurveda, ritucharya (or seasonal routine) needs to be followed according to the particular season to maintain hormonal balance, boost immunity, and to be fit and healthy. If what we eat is not in sync with nature, it is likely to result in compromised immunity and making you prone to lifestyle diseases.

Here is what you must eat during every season

Monsoon season: Food consumed during the rainy season should preferably be warm, freshly cooked, easy to digest, and light on stomach. Include lots of green and coloured vegetables in your diet. 

They have a good amount of nutrients that will keep you fit during this season. Drinking plenty of safe and potable water is as important as consuming warm, freshly prepared kadha, broths, and soups. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important considering their immune boosting and antioxidant action. Natural omega 3 is present in foods like fish, shrimp, oysters, nuts and oilseeds like walnuts, pista, chia seeds, and flax seeds. 

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It is also important to consume a variety of seasonal fruits like pomegranates, plums, litchis, pears, and vegetables like carrots, radishes, and fenugreek. You should include spices like ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and clove in your daily diet regime. These spices are antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and help in improving metabolism and boosting the immune system.

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Winter season: The goal of this season is to keep you warm and nourished. Winter is the time to eat sweet, sour, and salty foods—as well as unctuous or oily dishes. To keep your digestive fire burning strong, eat foods that are warm and have spices. Also eat foods that stimulate salivation. 

Include lots of fermented dishes in your diet and avoid foods that are cold, light, and dry. The ideal diet includes pumpkin, cabbage, spinach, corn, rice, carrots, potatoes, onions, beets, apples, dates, and dairy products.

Boiled food is one of the best options for winter. Have plenty of soup, stews, and broths made of winter foods. Carrots, beetroot, green leafy vegetables as well as other root-based vegetables are extremely beneficial and can be had steamed or otherwise.

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Figs and dates are great dried fruits that can help you stay warm during winters. They are rich in calcium and iron, and are both warming in nature. They also boost body energy. The food we eat in the winter season should always be warm.

Summer season: During the summer, try including foods that taste sweet, sour, and light and are cooling and mineral-rich in nature. Eat lots of herbs and drink lots of fruit juices, and avoid pungent or warm foods. Stay hydrated with lots of water and seek out antioxidants

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The ideal summer diet includes lots of fresh fruit and veggies like asparagus, cucumber, celery, and leafy greens. Eat foods rich in proteins, zinc, and vitamins A, C and E. Include citrus fruits in your diet as they are rich in vitamin C and are vital for improving your immunity. Also try and include herbs like amla, mint, cardamom, and basil in your diet to enhance your immunity and fight infections caused due to seasonal changes.

Following these food advisories throughout the seasons will ensure you stay healthy, fit and with a strong composition.

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About the Author

Dr. Arati Soman is the Ayurvedic Expert at Nisarga Biotech Pvt Ltd. With a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) and a Professional Diploma in Clinical Research. Dr. Arati Soman aims to do clinical research of Ayurvedic theories and give treatment to prove efficacy of the methods. ...Read More

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