Sujal Patil Torgal
Monsoons reveal the true magnificence and glory of Mother Nature. Be it freedom from the scorching sun, the sheer abundance of greener or the elevation of moods, we all have our reasons for loving the rains. But an important reason to dislike this season is its ability to make our body and mind vulnerable to anything and everything, giving rise to a variety of ailments.
Varsha ritu is the season of rains according to Ayurved. This season is marked by lower energy levels, weaker digestive system and lowered immunity. This is due to a change in climatic conditions caused by a sudden drop in temperature, increase in humidity, lack of sunshine, polluted water reservoirs and the possible contamination of eatables. All these factors give rise to a host of imbalances such as, lack of appetite, digestive problems, diarrhoea or constipation, respiratory disorders, fevers, skin infections, arthritic pain and many other diseases. The transition from summer to monsoon brings a major transformation both in nature as well as in our body, thus we need to correspond our diet and lifestyle too to cope up these changes.
- Eat if and when hungry to easily digest the food.
- Food should be warm and unctuous. It shouldn’t be too heavy, oily or spicy. Gruels, stews, soups, stocks and porridge are ideal. Grains like barley, rice and wheat are ideal to consume this season.
- Consume non-leafy and seasonal vegetables such as — snake gourd (turi), taikhilo, gourd (dudhi), pointed gourd (parwal), yam (suran), cluster beans (gavaar), apple gourd (tinda) and bitter gourd (karela). Avoid raw vegetables.
- Fruits such as amla, pomegranate, plum, cherries and jamun are good. It is always ideal to stick to seasonal fruits. Avoid refrigerated fruits or fruit juices.
- Supernatant water of curds, tempered buttermilk and old grape wine are recommended to improve appetite. One can replace sweeteners with honey for daily use except that it shouldn’t be heated.
- An herbal decoction of pepper, long pepper and ginger along with a pinch of salt can be taken daily to boost digestion.
- Include cow’s ghee, lean meat, lentils, green gram in your daily diet. Consume a small piece of ginger with rock salt before every meal. If days are cooler due to heavy rains, take a diet that is sour, salty and oily. Spices like ginger, turmeric, garlic, asafoetida, cumin, coriander, pepper are a must to boost the digestive system. Drink boiled water (once cooled) mixed with a little honey
- Foods to be avoided are ones that are heavy, greasy, too dry, too hot or too cold, bitter and those that have astringent properties. Avoid drinking excess of fluids at this further slows down the metabolism. Avoid consuming stale, processed, packed and canned food. Avoid leafy vegetables during monsoon and sour and fermented food like idli, dosa, dhokla etc.
- Don’t consume food which is stored in cold storage. Also fried food like bhajiyas. Roasted chanas or puffed rice is a better option for a quick snack. This season is also ideal to try various herbal teas like ginger, lemongrass, liquorice or a blend.
- Avoid napping during the day as it hampers digestion and slows down the metabolism.
- Don’t over exert yourself as it will lead to low energy levels.
- Dry fragrant herbal powders, fumes and fragrances are advised to be used which are antiseptic in nature.
- Keep your surroundings dry and clean. Avoid air conditioners or outdoor exposure to cool winds. Fumigate residential or work premises with frankincense or other herbal fumes to keep insects and other microbes at bay. This will help remove dampness and moisture as well.
- Avoid eating out on streets or food joints.
Therapeutically certain things listed below can be done at home or after one consultation with experts
Ayurved says Abhyanga or application of oil daily pacifies vata, reduces pain and swelling which is common in this season.
- Lepa (body packs) such neem, turmeric and triphala are ideal for this season as they keep skin infections at bay.
- Mild sensory cleansing procedures like Nasyam, dhumapan, gandush(gargles) and kavala(oil pulling) go a long way in improving the health of sensory organs and the upper respiratory system. (Please consult a doctor and avoid self experimentation).
- Regular yoga practices like pranayam(kapalbhati, nadi shodhan), other asana like setu bandhasana, nauskasan, bhujangasa, adhomukha- shwanasana prove beneficial in improving body strength particularly of the respiratory system.
- Yaugik kriyas like jala neti, dhauti and Vaman on a regular basis act as excellent preventive as well as curative measures.
- Panchakarma procedures like basti (enema), virechan( roughly purgatory detox) are being prescribed for chronic and severe disorders which worsen in this season. These procedures have to be done under strict observation and guidance.
- Individuals with vata- pitta dominant constitutions should be more vigilant about their regimen in this season as they are likely to be affected easily and aggressively.
Adopt a nature friendly lifestyle which changes according to the changes in nature. It is a marvellous fact that the fruits and vegetables that are available in a particular season correspond to our body’s needs as well. This is not a mere coincidence!
(TRAYA NATURAL HEALTH CENTRE; www.trayawellness.com; Email : email@example.com)