After the intense summer heat, rains are a much-needed respite. But along with pleasant weather, monsoon also invites plenty of health issues such as cold, cough, flu, food poisoning and cholera, to name a few. According to Payal Kothari, a Mumbai-based integrative nutritionist and lifestyle coach, our immunity during the rainy season is low because of the changing weather, which makes us highly susceptible to infections and diseases.
To ensure the monsoon doesn’t rain on our parade, it is necessary to keep a sharp eye on what we eat and drink. Also, there are certain precautions and diet modifications that are suggested by experts. Like, avoid eating out, eat moderate quantities of food, avoid oily food, and more. One of these food rules includes staying away from green leafy vegetables.
What, no leafy veggies in the monsoon?
It seems counter-intuitive to avoid leafy veggies because since childhood we’ve been taught that they’re nutritious and beneficial for our body. To gain clarity on the matter we asked three nutritionists: Should we really give greens a miss during the monsoon? Here’s what they had to say.
Naavnidhi K Wadhwa, an independent coach for the psychology of eating, diet planner, and NLP expert from Mumbai, advises her patients to avoid green leafy vegetables during the rainy season. She says these vegetables grow in swamp areas, which are breeding grounds for a variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, insects, and other disease-causing organisms since they thrive in wet and shaded areas.
During the other seasons, sunshine acts as a disinfectant for the soil but during monsoon, there are chances the leaves may get infected. ”We may be able to separate insects and worms from these leaves because they are visible to naked eyes, but, when it comes to micro-organisms it’s difficult,” she adds. Kothari echoes Wadhwa’s opinion. “Apart from the fact that they’re grown in swamps, we don’t know whether they are stored hygienically,” adds Kothari, and strongly suggests against greens such as fenugreek, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage.
The flipside, be more careful than usual
When we asked Delhi-based nutritionist Kavita Devgan the same question, she held a contradictory opinion. “My stand is that one should not and must not avoid them but be a little more careful when cooking and eating them during the monsoon. You should, of course, avoid eating them outside at restaurants and dhaba since hygiene is suspect there.”
Devgan urges people to be sure of the source of the vegetables and the vendor they are buying from. While Wadhwa and Kothari don’t strongly recommend these veggies during this particular season, they agree with Devgan that these greens need to be cooked with precautions.
How to wash veggies during the rainy season
The experts suggest washing these vegetables in warm water with a little bit of rock salt or vinegar. “This will help to wash off the bacteria and insects nesting on them. Also, scan the veggies carefully for worms and then cook them properly before consuming,” says Kothari.
Shirin Kapadia, an independent nutritionist from Mumbai says, if at all we want to replace leafy vegetables with other ingredients, Kapadia recommends tinda (apple gourd), ghiya (bottle gourd) and bitter gourd. These are the few seasonal veggies that are light for the stomach to digest.