Ingredients that need to be a part of your diet this rainy season

Monsoons have always had a special place in every Indian’s heart — whether it’s the smell of wet mud, making paper boats or unfurling umbrellas to check if they are working. But, the one association that Indians have with a good downpour is grabbing a hot, steaming cup of tea accompanied by fresh pakodas!

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, a big proponent of healthy eating, also likes his share of fried fritters. “I enjoy indulging in pakodas and bhajiyas. However, I limit my intake as I know they aren’t the healthiest option around. But, when it rains, I crave for them. Our minds tend to make connections to food based on seasons, however, it is important to understand what our bodies need during each season. Since the rains are associated with a huge number of diseases, it is essential to eat food that is not just immunity-boosting, but also good for the gut.

“In the rains, specifically, natural produce rots faster as there is increased moisture content in the air. Bacteria and other germs present on the surface absorb the moisture and start decomposing the vegetables and fruits, faster than required. This makes it essential for the natural product to be washed with a vegetable and fruit wash made with natural ingredients like Nimwash and dried thoroughly before they are sorted or consumed. This helps in washing away germs and spoilage causing bacteria from the natural products,” he says.

Kapoor advises using the below ingredients during monsoons:

* Seasonal fruits: Seasonal fruits such as papaya, litchi, apples and pears can help in improving immunity and providing nutrition to the body. Eating them every day will enrich the body with the required vitamins as well as fibres, thus improving gut health and overall immunity

* Garlic: This is another superfood that helps in maintaining the metabolism of the human body. It can be consumed daily by adding it to our dal, sambhar, rasam or even sauces for that matter. Regular ingredients and masalas found in any Indian kitchen like garlic, pepper, ginger, cumin, coriander, and turmeric aid in protecting the body from the common cold and flu

* Bitter better veggies: Adding vegetables like bitter gourd, neem, fenugreek (commonly called methi) are immunity-boosting and can help in the fight against water and airborne diseases. They are rich in Vitamins A, C, B, and minerals such as iron and zinc. Moreover, Neem is traditionally known for its healing, antifungal and antibiotic properties, helping the body to fight various diseases

* Curd: Adding a probiotic ingredient to your diet is good for a stronger gut. It keeps pathogens at bay and the good bacteria present in curd keeps the intestines healthy

* Honey: Honey not just helps in improving digestion and providing energy to the body, but the phytonutrients in honey have antioxidant properties, which are known to have anticancer benefits as well

* Water: The most essential of all the precautions to be kept in mind is to drink filtered or boiled water. It keeps energy levels up, decreases the chances of acne and keeps you active. To make it more beneficial, make a detox drink by adding a slice of lime/orange, cucumber and mint into the water.