The monsoon comes with a number of maladies, like typhoid, diarrhoea, dysentery, Hepatitis A and E, jaundice, food poisoning, and menaces by mosquitoes, namely malaria, dengue, certain fungal infections, and so on. Along with all that there’s also humidity, dampness, food contamination, and mould growth—all of it creating a perfect recipe to fall sick.
Here are some simple lifestyle tips to adopt if you want to keep yourself, and especially your tummy, healthy.
• Skip the raw
During the monsoon, avoid raw food, especially when eating out, because it carries the risk of infection. This includes raw smoothies, sprouts, and salads. If you do eat raw, ensure the produce is washed properly. Foods are more prone to fungus and mould growth in times of dampness. Sometimes the seeds attract fungal or mould growth, so be careful of that.
Thorough washing of fruits and vegetables is a must during this season because we never know what we might accidentally consume with what we eat. You can buy a chemical-free, safe vegetable and fruit washing solution or make your own.
Here’s a DIY veggie wash solution that will help disinfect and clean vegetables and fruits and remove grime, dirt and dust without changing the taste:
• 4 parts warm water and 1-part Apple Cider Vinegar (4 cups water and 1 cup ACV.)
• Put this mixture in a large bowl or in your sink.
• If you use the sink, make sure you plug the drain first, of course.
• Place the produce in the mixture for 20-25 minutes.
• Scrub it lightly, while wearing gloves.
Add-on: Mix in one teaspoon of sea salt. The cleansing properties of the sea salt will help remove the bacteria.
• Feed your gut good bacteria
The health of your gut depends on the balance between the good and bad bacteria which together form the gut microbiome. An imbalance leads to gut dysbiosis. Feed your gut good bacteria (probiotics) as well as prebiotics, in order to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
While a probiotic supplement might be necessary in some cases, here is a simple homemade probiotic that we often recommend to our clients—rice kanji. The leftover cooked rice that people often toss into the bin can become a super-natural, inexpensive probiotic for your gut, which means better immunity.
How to make it? Let the cooked rice cool. Take out 1 tbsp per person, and put it in a clay pot or a mug. Cover it with water. Place a lid over the pot and leave it overnight. Consume the rice and water on an empty stomach the next morning. This is a powerful probiotic for the gut and gut-related problems.
Prebiotics are necessary too. They serve as food for the probiotics. You can find prebiotics in natural foods like garlic, apple, asparagus, apple cider vinegar, and raw bananas.
• Play with mud
Start playing with pure and organic mud. Ensure to not use mud that is contaminated by animal urine or poop. Playing with mud can strengthen your gut, and your children’s. If you do not have access to a garden, order organic mud online and create a mud pit. When my daughter was growing up, I got a whole box and filled it with soil so she could play with it every day. Good microbes stuck in your nails enter your system and feed your gut microbiome with perfect nutrition.
• Keep your home a footwear-free zone
Most people ignore this, but it could hugely affect your gut health. With the monsoon comes muck, so you must keep your footwear outside the home. The easiest way to carry dirt, viruses, bacteria, and germs into our homes is via footwear. It is not very difficult for harmful bacteria or germs to reach your intestine from the footwear you bring into your living space. Imagine all the dirt we walk over with our shoes on—spit, garbage, poop, and what not!
Stomach or colic pain is one of the most common complaints in the monsoon. Here’s a very simple concoction that can support your gut health. In fact, it’s best to take it regularly for prevention. (This is not a replacement for any medical advice.)
• 1 tsp jeera
• 1 tsp saunf
• 4 peppercorns
• 3 cloves
• Pinch of ajwain
Boil and simmer in four cups of water till it reduces to half. Strain and sip warm. It can be consumed thrice a day and is safe for children above five years of age.
Luke Coutinho practices in the space of Holistic Nutrition—Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine and is the founder of You Care-All about You by Luke Coutinho
From HT Brunch, August 27, 2022
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