A cuppa in the rains!

Seasons delight
Last Updated 16 July 2010, 12:59 IST

Though not with a bang, monsoons have definitely arrived! Sometimes it’s cold and windy out there while at other times, after the rains, the mercury level goes up making the weather extremely hot and humid. Well, the monsoons in Bangalore can be pleasant and menacing at the same time. However, with the rains, comes an opportunity to dig into some delicious and tasty food. Be it some hot soup or some salty snacks or even the classic hot pakodas with a cup of chai, there is no better time than monsoon to admire the beauty of nature and relish some delicacies at the same time.

Emilee, a marketing and communications professional, loves the monsoons. She enjoys preparing spicy pakodas as the rain lashes against her window. “I enjoy cooking them. If I don’t feel like cooking, I just go to the chaatwala next door and order a spicy pav bhaji or some nice chaat. As long as the pakodas are prepared at home, they are healthy,” she smiles. “There are two ways to enjoy the rainy season — you can go out and enjoy it or sit at home and eat nice food,” she adds.

Says popular nutritionist, diet and obesity consultant Naini Setalvad, “Ancient India always believed in eating according to the season. There are foods that give warmth and generate heat, while there are also foods that cool the body down. During the monsoon, the temperatures drop, and seasonal illnesses and infections are aplenty. When food is warm, it keeps infections at bay, and generates warmth in the body. When it is cooked and eaten hot, there are lesser bacteria and fewer chances of the occurrence of water-borne diseases.”

Speaking of certain herbs and spices that keep common cold, cough and fever away, she says, “A lot of artificially flavoured lozenges or medicated candies, consist of ginger, mint, clove and cinnamon flavours. Why can we not use these condiments in their true form? A hot soup flavoured with a pinch of cinnamon, such as pumpkin and cinnamon soup, or even a tomato rasam, which would include curry leaves, cloves, garlic and ginger, is an ultimate immunity booster. A warm ginger and honey infusion would do the trick for the sore throat and runny nose.” She adds, “Fruits and vegetables like peach, plum, pear, cherry, corn and pumpkin can also be savoured during the season.”

Naini also feels adding some mint leaves or basil (tulsi) to tea really helps one keep warm. “You could also have a cup of hot green tea. Or simply stir some turmeric and rock salt into some warm water and drink up, it’s the grandmother’s favourite solution to everything — with good reason,” she signs off.

Preventive measures
*Don’t consume heavy oils like mustard, peanut or sesame oil. Consume light oils like olive oil. Body massages with lights oils can help one maintain weight by improving the bile flow.

*Dry food items like corn, besan or gramflour, chana or chickpeas and oats are ideal for the season. Watery foods like rice, lassi, watermelon and muskmelon are best avoided as they can create swellings in body.

*Don’t consume too much of heavy or salty food. They can lead to water retention and bloating. Sour food like tamarind or imli, chutneys and pickles also lead to water retention.

*Do not eat fried foods and too much of meat. Instead, go for light foods like vegetables, fruits, cereals and grilled, tandoori foods prepared with minimum oil/butter.

*Keep track of your general hygiene whenever you eat out. By avoiding roadside food, one can prevent bacterial infections. Be careful especially while consuming dairy products like paneer and raita from outside.

*Opt for warm/cooked/steamed salads instead of cold ones. Wash all the vegetables and fruits well to clean them off the hidden worms and insects.

*Bitter vegetables like karela or bitter gourd and bitter herbs like neem, methi or fenugreek  seeds and spices like haldi or turmeric prevent infection.

(Published 16 July 2010, 12:59 IST)

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