Why Should Leafy Vegetables Be Avoided In Monsoon?
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The rains bring quite a few restrictions with them especially with regards to food. It is commonly believed that fish and leafy vegetables should be strictly avoided during this season. While leafy vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, their consumption during the monsoon season requires extra caution. Heavy rains and high humidity, creates an environment conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungi. 

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This increases the risk of food borne illnesses, particularly from leafy vegetables. Avoiding certain greens during the monsoon is a common precaution in many cultures, particularly in regions where monsoon rains are heavy and the climate is conducive to rapid microbial growth.

The increased risk of contamination and spoilage makes it advisable to avoid greens such as spinach, lettuce, and cabbage. By opting for alternatives that are less prone to spoilage, ensuring thorough cleaning, proper storage, and cooking, you can still enjoy the nutritional benefits of leafy vegetables while minimising health risks. Adhering to these precautions can help maintain digestive health and prevent foodborne illnesses during the challenging monsoon months.

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Why Are Leafy Vegetables A Risk During Rains?

During the monsoon, fields often become waterlogged, leading to an increased risk of contamination from soil-borne disease-causing agents which live both in soil and in a plant host, and which will tend to infect undiseased plants which are grown in that soil.

Irrigation with contaminated water, which is common during the monsoon, can introduce harmful microorganisms to the vegetables. Leafy vegetables can also be contaminated during handling, transport, and storage, especially when proper hygiene practices are not followed.

Leafy greens are not known to have a long shelf life anyway and the increased humidity during the monsoon accelerates the spoilage. They wilt faster and can gather mould and fungi. When proper refrigeration and storage become challenging, there’s a higher risk of consuming spoiled or partially decayed vegetables.

Farmers often use more pesticides during the monsoon to combat the sudden surge in pests who arrive during this season. The chemicals can remain on the leaves if not thoroughly washed, posing health risks.

The monsoon season tends to make people more susceptible to digestive problems. One always hears of people catching the flu or the stomach bug. Eating spoiled or partially spoiled leafy greens can make things worse, leading to stomach infections, diarrhoea, and other gastrointestinal problems.

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Some Vegetables That Are Best Avoided In The Monsoon

Palak: Spinach leaves can easily trap dirt and bacteria, making them difficult to clean thoroughly. The high moisture content also makes them prone to rapid spoilage.

Lettuce: Lettuce is often eaten raw in salads, increasing the risk of ingesting contaminants. Its delicate leaves spoil quickly in humid conditions.

Cabbage: While technically not a leafy green in the same sense as spinach or lettuce, cabbage leaves can harbour also pests and dirt. They also tend to rot from the inside in humid conditions.

Methi (Fenugreek Leaves): Fenugreek leaves have a short shelf life and can become slimy and spoil quickly in humid weather. They are also difficult to clean thoroughly.

Sarson (Mustard Greens): Mustard greens have thick leaves and are tough to clean properly.

Chaulai (Amaranth Leaves): Just like the other greens, Amaranth leaves also spoil quickly in humid conditions.

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Things To Keep In Mind If You Eat Leafy Vegetables In The Monsoon

Wash leafy vegetables thoroughly under running water to remove dirt and contaminants. Soaking them in a solution of water and vinegar can help remove pesticides and bacteria.

Store leafy vegetables in the refrigerator and use them as soon as possible to minimise the risk of spoilage. Avoid storing them in plastic bags, which can trap moisture and accelerate spoilage.

Cook/ boil leafy vegetables properly to ensure that any lingering bacteria or fungi are killed. Avoid consuming raw salads during the monsoon.

Buy vegetables from known sources that adhere to good hygiene practices. Avoid roadside vendors, as the produce may have been even more exposed.

Choose safer alternatives such as cooked greens as cooking at high temperatures can kill most pathogens. Opting for micro greens may be a good idea. Micro greens harvested at an early stage and are often grown in controlled environments, making them a safer option during the monsoon.