As much fun as it is to dance and enjoy in rain, coming down with the flu later is equally terrible. Unfortunately, both are unavoidable during the monsoon season.
However, there are certain foods which provide immunity against the season flu. Remember how our grandparents used to advice us to eat certain fruits and vegetables especially during the monsoons? Well, there is a lot of merit in that advise as some desi foods- which are easily available in your local farmers market- not only provide protection against flu, but also help to overcome the terrible symptoms if the flu virus infects you.
Coveted in ancient India as a medicinal crop, many studies have found garlic to be an immunity booster as well as a symptom reliever. It has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. In many parts of the country, garlic is a part of regular diet. But eating raw garlic provides more immunity. Start eating 1-2 cloves of raw garlic every day.
Ginger tea is an all time favourite during monsoon season. Not only does it provide a good kick to rejuvenate the system, it also helps to alleviate the symptoms of flu like chest congestion. It is also available as medicinal supplement. However it is best to consume it raw or cooked in food.
Fruits which belong to the citrus family are rich in Vitamin C, which is an anti-oxidant, known to enhance the immune system. Kinnow, Oranges, lemon, and even peppers are good sources of Vitamin C. Tomato is another good source of Vitamin C. Be sure to include them in your diet on a regular basis.
The importance of eating green vegetables on a regular basis cannot be overstated. Especially green leafy vegetables like spinach, cabbage, lettuce, etc. are good sources of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, another nutrient with protective properties. Broccoli, French beans, bottle gourd, peas are some vegetables which contain immunity-boosting nutrients.
Probiotics such as yogurt, curd, lassi, chhachh are the best source of gut microbes which help to digest the food. They constitute the good gut flora which helps to boost immunity, prevent inflammation and infections, and regulate metabolism.
Spices such as turmeric, cloves and cinnamon are other rich sources of anti-oxidants. Some exotic herbs like rosemary, oregano, thyme, dill also enrich the body with essential nutrients that help the body fight off flu infection and regain strength quickly.
(Disclaimer: Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, Senior Consultant, Nutritionist, Apollo Hospitals. The views expressed are personal opinion.)