8 diet tips that will help you stay healthy during the changing weather

8 diet tips that will help you stay healthy during the changing weather

Want to keep seasonal illnesses at bay? Follow these expert-approved health tips

It’s a known fact that our bodies take time to accept the turn of weather, transformation in air pressure, and temperature. “This is especially true if you have compromised immunity, the susceptibility to falling sick is higher,” says nutritionist Neha Ranglani who also recently launched a cookbook The Beverage Booster featuring healthy recipes to build your immune system. She shares diet tips for better health and immunity during this time.

1. Find new and different ways to incorporate Vitamin C into your diet

Citrus fruits are common, but there are several other ways to incorporate Vitamin C into your diet: both ingredient and technique-wise to amp up your Vitamin C consumption. “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Consumers usually turn to oranges or supplements, but besides these two choices, there are more alternatives and techniques to amp up your Vitamin C consumption,” says Ranglani. She suggests vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kimchi and sauerkraut for some palate change. “Whenever you’re eating your fruits and vegetables, try not to cook them as Vitamin C is a heat-sensitive nutrient and will get lost during the cooking process. Eat them raw to reap the real benefits,” she says.

2. Load up on all kinds of liquid, not just water

That liquids play a critical role in your body’s mechanism to cope up with the weather changes is known. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep guzzling just water. Ranglani says “Citrus fruit juices, tomato and herb soup, lentil soup, mushroom soup, warm turmeric water, turmeric milk or the household kadha with crushed ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, basil, and some jaggery are sure shot wonders.” Liquid nutrition is the best way to up your nutrition quotient as it’s easy to digest and assimilate.

3. Avoid raw foods, but still eat greens

“Raw foods can garner more bacteria especially during monsoons. It is not that everybody needs to avoid raw veggies but you need to make sure you wash them well, cut it right before consuming and avoid having it stale as it can upset the stomach,” informs Ranglani. When eating restaurant food, avoid raw greens because you can’t be doubly sure how they have been handled. “At home, wash, steam and then use it for gravies or soups, sauteeing them is also a great way to add them to your diet,” she says.

4. Skip fish altogether

It’s a known fact that fish usually breed during monsoon and carry eggs. This is not only bad for the oceanic environment but also “there is an increase in the possibility of digestive issues and infections if consumed,” says Ranglani. She adds, besides the polluted water during monsoon can increase chances of infections if the fish is not washed well. What you get in the markets can be frozen and then thawed fish, so you’d rather avoid it until the season settles.

5. Choose whole grains

Ranglani says, “I always advise whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, ragi, buckwheat, amaranth, and the likes. These grains are rich in folate, magnesium, and iron, imparting power to your immune system.” She joins the anti-gluten brigade when she says, “gluten may be the cause for a lot of underlying health issues hence replacing wheat with any of the millets can help alleviate a lot of symptoms.”

6. The debate about cooling foods

“Staying cool and hydrated will prevent you from catching a cold,” says Ranglani, but that doesn’t mean you have to fear eating cooling foods during this time of the year. “Go for foods that have intrinsic cooling properties, but don’t have them cold! Incorporate ingredients like mint, watermelon, celery, cucumber, basil seeds, betel leaf, coconut water and water infused with basil seeds or vegetables and mint.” But everything that you ingest should be room temperature, is her main advice.

7. It’s best to eat seasonal crops

Ranglani informs me that crops like millet, sorghum and maize are more resilient to extreme weather in India unlike rice, which gets heavily affected in cases of extreme weather change. “Climate changes put stress on rice plants, affecting the irrigation water and arsenic levels. Millet, sorghum, and maize are much more resistant and are not easily perturbed through these changes and therefore better to eat them,” she says.

8. Add some fermented foods to your diet

Foods like kombucha, kanji, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kimchi, sourdough bread and yoghurt have great health benefits as they help in increasing the good bacteria in the gut which then helps in weight management, hormone balance, sugar control and a lot of other functions. Ranglani says, “Fermenting foods increases their nutrient content and these have 12 times more Vitamin C than non-fermented foods. Fermenting also makes them more bioavailable, like generating iron, Vitamin B which in turn help in boosting immunity.” However, it’s always wise to add fermented foods to your diet in small portions and observe their effects on your body first and gradually increase portion size.

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