Indian cuisine offers a rich variety of ingredients that are not only delicious but also highly beneficial for combating seasonal colds. These ingredients are known for their immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to alleviate cold symptoms and promote overall wellness.
The arrival of the monsoon season brings relief from scorching temperatures and rejuvenates the parched landscapes, but it also heralds an annual bout of seasonal illnesses. Monsoons create an ideal breeding ground for various viruses and bacteria, making it a prime time for falling sick. The sudden fluctuations in temperature and increased humidity create an environment conducive to the proliferation of pathogens, leading to a surge in respiratory infections, waterborne diseases, and other common ailments. However, with some thoughtful adjustments to our diet, we can fortify our immune systems and protect ourselves from the seasonal onslaught of illnesses.
During the monsoon, the prevalence of diseases like colds, flu, coughs, and gastrointestinal infections rises dramatically. The dampness in the air fosters the growth of mould, leading to respiratory issues, while stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, causing diseases like dengue and malaria. Moreover, the fluctuating weather conditions make our bodies susceptible to infections, as the sudden temperature change weakens our immune responses.
In such challenging circumstances, making conscious changes to our diet can play a significant role in bolstering our immune defences and warding off infections. Incorporating traditional Indian ingredients with immune-boosting properties can prove to be immensely beneficial during this season. Turmeric, ginger, garlic, and tulsi are renowned for their antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. These ingredients not only provide a burst of flavour to our meals but also fortify our immune system, helping it combat pathogens more effectively.
Additionally, consuming foods rich in vitamin C, such as Indian gooseberry (amla), helps strengthen the body's defence mechanisms. The monsoon harvest offers an array of leafy greens, fenugreek, and spinach, which are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Including these nutrient-dense foods in our diet provides our bodies with the necessary tools to fight off infections and maintain overall health.
Here are 8 ingredients you can add to your diet for better health during the monsoons:
Turmeric is a golden-yellow spice commonly used in Indian cooking. It contains a compound called curcumin, which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric can help reduce inflammation in the respiratory system and boost your immune response, making it an excellent addition to your meals or warm turmeric milk.
Ginger is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine and is widely known for its medicinal properties. It has natural antiviral and antibacterial properties, making it effective in combating cold viruses. You can add ginger to soups, teas, or stir-fries to reap its benefits.
Garlic has been used in traditional Indian medicine for its immune-boosting and antiviral properties. It contains allicin, a compound known for its antimicrobial effects. Adding raw or cooked garlic to your dishes can help fight off infections and support your immune system during the cold season.
Tulsi is considered a sacred herb in India and is well-known for its medicinal properties. It has immunomodulatory effects and is rich in antioxidants, making it helpful in preventing and managing colds. You can consume tulsi as a tea or add fresh leaves to your meals.
Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps improve digestion and can soothe a sore throat. Sprinkling a pinch of black pepper on your food can aid in cold relief.
Amla is a powerhouse of vitamin C, which is essential for a strong immune system. It helps in fighting off infections and reduces the severity and duration of colds. You can consume amla juice or add dried amla powder to your diet.
Fenugreek leaves and seeds are widely used in Indian cooking and have numerous health benefits. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, which can strengthen your immune system and promote respiratory health. Fenugreek can be included in curries, stews, or sprouted for salads.
Cinnamon is a warming spice that can help improve circulation and support the immune system. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe a sore throat. Adding a pinch of cinnamon to your morning tea or oatmeal can be beneficial during cold weather.