From The Doctor's Desk: Eat Healthy This Karkidakam
Dr. Job Thomas writes to our readers telling us what to and what not to eat during this monsoon.
On Jul 17, 2010


Based on the position of the sun in the southern direction, the last 6 months of the year, from July to December comes under 'Dakshinayana'.  Rainy season occurs in 'Dakshinayana', during which the digestive fire in human bodies are weakened and we are prone to infections. To avoid harmful effects of the changing environment, it is necessary to adopt certain changes in food habits as well as in the way of living.

According to Ayurveda, our body consists of three main elements or 'doshas' - ‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’. For each season there is a unique diet and a way of living to keep your ‘doshas’ in a state of equilibrium and help you cope with the stress and strain of the changing seasons. The sudden change from the scorching heat to the monsoons cause acidity in the vegetation around us, and the consumption of their yields cause 'pithadosha' in humans, and the wet atmosphere causes 'vatadosha'.

Digestive capacity is reduced during the monsoons; it is therefore advisable to moderate your diet during the monsoons.

Avoid eating if you are not hungry. This is the most important tip for healthy eating for the season. Eating unnecessarily can lead to indigestion and illness.

Eat light breakfasts like 'rava upma' or 'iddlies' with ginger in it. Ginger adds to the flavour of the food and also helps to improve digestion. 'Idiyappam' and other steam-cooked food items are most preferable for breakfast. Drink warm beverages only. Old wines and 'arishtas' are good for Karkidakam.

Fruits like pomegranates, bananas, chikoos, strawberries and dates are ideal for the monsoon. Steam the bananas well before consuming. Bananas are heavy to digest when taken raw, especially during the rainy season. Stay away from melons and cucumber. Jackfruits and mangoes are seasonal fruits; you can go easy on them. Avoid uncooked food and salads.

Care should be taken to see that only boiled water and properly cooked food items with sufficient warmth are consumed. Consume milk as per necissity. Milk has glucose that gives you energy.

Non-vegetarians should go for lighter meat preparations like soups and stews rather than the spicy dishes. Avoid fish and other fried food. Vegitarians can go for vegetable soups.

You can go for sweet food.  Sweet, sour and salty dishes are good for rainy season.

It is advisable to add a little ghee while cooking during the rainy season as ghee helps in pacifying 'vata'.

Do not consume food straight out of the refrigerator; warm it to room temperature before consumption. This is a tip to healthy diet for all the seasons.
The cardinal rule about eating during the monsoon is that you should never eat when you are not hungry, says Dr. Job Thomas

Drinking a cup of warm water with one teaspoon each of honey and lemon juice added to it is effective against cough and cold. It is to be noted that honey should be added only after cooling the lemon mixture. Boiled cinnamon in a cup of water and honey, taken 3-4 times a day can relieve sore throats.

If you have throat irritations, taking 'thalisa pathradi churnam' mixed with little honey every now and then is an effective antidote.

The rainy season is ideal for Ayurvedic detoxification or Panchakarma therapy, which eliminates all toxins from the body, reduces stress and instills new energy. Panchakarma therapy includes 'Virechanam' or purgation, 'Vamanam' or emissive therapy, 'Nasyam' or inhalation, 'Kashayavasthi' and 'Snehavasthi'.

'Abhayanga' or whole body massage is also good during the rainy season to relax the body. It also helps to ward off 'vata' born diseases. ‘Udvarthanam' or massage with herbal powders helps in toning the muscles. It also helps to reduce weight.  'Shiro-dhara' is also advisable for meantal relaxation.

A strict adherence to Ayurveda and a disciplined way of life can keep you healthy this Karkidakam.

Dr. Job Thomas is Senior Branch Physician, The Arya Vaidya Pharmacy (Coimbatore) Ltd., YMCA Road, Trivandrum.

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