Keep Your Stomach Happy This Monsoon

18 Jul 2020

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The sound of rain pattering against the windows soothes the soul in a way that nothing else can. We all love soaking in all the beauty of the monsoon because the rains save us from the scorching heat of summer, and what’s not to love about that? However, the monsoon does come with its own share of pros and cons. One of the major cons is all the nasty microbes it brings along; they may cause digestion problems, allergies, and food-borne diseases such as diarrhea, food poisoning, and so many others. 

Plus, the higher humidity levels add to overall health problems since it reduces the stomach’s capability to digest food like it normally would. Hence, most experts suggest sticking to healthier, lighter foods, and avoiding oily, heavy snacks [1]. Here are some effective tips on how you can do just that. 

Monsoon Tips: Dos And Don’ts

What To Eat: The temptation to have fried pakoras and samosas is higher in monsoon, we know that. But your gut is not going to be too happy with that. Instead, try to consume more vegetables and fruits [2]. They are light on the stomach and easy to digest, making you feel fresh all day long. 

Which Oils To Use: Ditch your usual mustard oil, peanut oil, or butter as they generate excessive body heat by making your digestive system work harder. Switch to lighter alternatives like olive oil or sunflower oil, which are easier to digest [3]. 

What Not To Eat: Street food or outside food is a strict no-no. In fact, even home-made ‘junk’ food like bhel-puri, bread pakora, Chinese dishes, etc. need to be at bay. These are heavy to digest and can cause acidity and flatulence or aggravate existing issues. Trust us, your gut is happier and healthier without it [4].

The Right Way To Clean Produce: While washing fruits and vegetables is essential irrespective of the season, it becomes especially important to thoroughly wash them during monsoons. This is because the transition from summer to monsoon is ideal for bacterial growth, as the humidity and moisture in the environment provide them with a cozy setting to grow in [5]. Additionally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to sanitize produce delivered home. While food is not known to carry or spread the virus, the surface of the item or packaging might leave you vulnerable to infection. Using water with food soda can help clean the fruits and vegetables.

Stay Hydrated: Irrespective of the season, make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day as it assists the digestive system in dissolving fibers and fats  [6]. Water also keeps you full for longer so you’re less likely to binge on those unhealthy snacks. 

Since monsoons bring along the risk of contaminated water, make sure you boil the water before storing it. Even if you have an RO or other filters, the water you drink may not be completely risk-free, so boiling water is your best bet. 

Pro-tip: Keep a water bottle near you and carry it around the house or have a bottle in a corner of the house you’re likely to be in, so whenever you see it you’ll be motivated to sip some water. Make sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water daily.

Wash Your Hands Frequently: Yes, it’s true washing hands doesn’t just fight the COVID-19 virus, but also a regular stomach bug. Regardless of how clean your hands look, they are not. You can’t see the germs but they’re there.  Opt for the good-old soap and water technique, or if you’re on-the-go use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 

Monsoon Tips: Home Remedies For An Upset Tummy

Despite taking the precautions, if you’re constipated, gassy, nauseous or have indigestion, opt for one of these natural home remedies.

Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is undoubtedly one of the most effective remedies for indigestion. It is packed with magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and other minerals that facilitate digestion. Its acidic nature helps in the breakdown of fats in the body, thereby preventing acid reflux. It is better to consume raw, organic, unfiltered ACV containing ‘mother’ because of its enhanced effectiveness [7]. 

How To Consume It: 

1. Add 5-10 ml of it in a glass of water (warm, preferably). Add some honey to dilute its tangy flavor.

2. Use it as a salad dressing by mixing 1 tbsp of ACV with 1 tbsp of olive oil.

3. Have ACV supplements that offer the same benefits. Setu Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are a delicious way to have ACV without its strong taste. They have no added gelatin and show no known side effects.

Ginger: A common spice for cooking in almost all Indian households, ginger is great for acidity. It is rich in antioxidants like gingerols that are especially helpful in relieving nausea and vomiting. The phenolic compounds present in ginger can reduce gastric contractions and relieve irritation, acidity, and inflammation [8]. 

How To Consume It:

1. For acidity, add 1 tbsp of ginger with lemon and honey to a glass of warm water.

2. For flatulence, grate 1 tbsp of ginger and mix with 1 tsp of lime juice. Consume this mixture directly after eating for the best results.

Carom Seeds (Ajwain): It contains enzymes that increase the secretion of gastric juices, which boost digestion, and is known as an immediate cure for flatulence, acidity, etc [9]. 

How To Consume It:

1. For acid reflux, take 1 tsp of ajwain seeds, cumin seeds, and ½ tsp of ginger powder. Mix it in water and drink it.

2. For better digestion, soak 2 tsp of carom seeds in water overnight, and drink it on an empty stomach the next morning. 

Probiotics: Probiotics are essentially the good bacteria in the stomach that help digest food. They are key in maintaining gut health. While the human body already has these, it is essential to increase the number of good bacteria by consuming probiotics through diet or supplements. [10]. 

How To Consume It:

1. Consume yogurt, paneer, idli, buttermilk and other fermented foods regularly.

2. Have potent supplements like Setu Your Gut. It is formulated with 9 probiotic strains that help in curing bloating, indigestion, and other digestive problems. Probiotics take time to show its effects, hence ensure you consume it regularly for best results.

References: 

  1. https://www.indiatoday.in/lifestyle/health/story/monsoon-health-diet-109669-2012-07-16
  2. https://www.pcrm.org/news/health-nutrition/fruits-and-vegetables-improve-gut-bacteria#:~:text=A%20diet%20rich%20in%20fruits,to%20research%20published%20in%20Nutrients.
  3. https://www.newideafood.com.au/sunflower-oil-healthy#:~:text=Improves%20digestion,which%20can%20help%20with%20constipation.
  4. https://maplehealthcare.net/street-food-bacteria-digestive-health.html
  5. https://www.vogue.in/content/food-poisoning-in-the-monsoon-the-causes-symptoms-and-cures-to-know
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/digestion/faq-20058348#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20drinking%20water%20during,stool%2C%20which%20helps%20prevent%20constipation.
  7. https://www.femina.in/wellness/health/home-remedies-for-indigestion-104848.html
  8. https://www.femina.in/wellness/home-remedies/best-home-remedies-for-acidity-and-heartburn-80679.html#ginger
  9. https://www.dailyo.in/lifestyle/ajwain-seeds-health-stomach-gas-digestion-weight-loss-carom-seeds/story/1/23112.html
  10. https://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics

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