Monsoons rejuvenate our body after a long spell of scorching heat. However, a sudden change in weather must be handled with according change in our food and lifestyle too else the same season which is supposed to be strength giving, can become counterproductive thereby creating health issues including drop in immunity. Here are some tips using basic principles of Ayurveda, to help your reap benefits out of this wonderful season.
***This post is an extract from the book -THE ROOT CAUSE- Ayurveda, Astrology and beyond for a blissful life”. To pick up a copy of the book, please click the link/s mentioned at the end of this post ⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓
(a) A sudden drop in temperature especially on a rainy day is bound to reduce heat in our body too (Always remember the Vedic verse- Yat Pinde Tat Brahmande- The macrocosm has a corresponding effect on our microcosm and vice versa). And therefore while during summers most of us logically opt for cooler foods to combat heat, on a rainy day we should avoid foods having cold potency (like melons/gourds/un-spiced rice/juices) and must add warmth to our meals with a dash of ginger (adrak), carom seeds (ajwain), besan (chickpea flour). A sudden drop in temperature if not countered with such measures will reduce blood circulation in our body leading to issues like pains/depression/constipation/sluggishness/extended afternoon sleep, especially in those whose blood circulation is already affected due to indiscreet use of foods like onion, garlic, tea, coffee, chocolates, liquor, tobacco, broccoli, beetroot, mint. Also, remember to add appropriate quantity of ghee/oil to such foods because foods like besan are dry and hot in nature and need oil to make a balanced diet. Please avoid deep fried foods like pakoraas as they not only give us excess of oil but also kill essential Vitamins and micro-nutrients due to high heat.
(b) Donot make the mistake of having tea/coffee during such cold spell. Yes! Tea, coffee will give you instant warmth but due to their vasodilation effect along with astringency, they will also slowly and gradually increase wrinkles in your blood vessels leading to further dent in your circulation and more dependence on such foods/drinks. Instead go for slightly sour and spicy foods like tomato soup with a dash of ginger/ghee/black pepper or prepare thin well spiced besan curry with rice/chapatti etc. Please also avoid green veggies especially leafy vegetables as not only such vegetables are astringent and bitter which further reduce pitta (heat) but due to the weather they are highly likely to be infected with fungus/insects etc.
(c) Humidity means stagnated water-droplets in the atmosphere and any type of stagnation is bound to invite growth of unwanted organisms which in turn is bound to affect our microcosm too (our body and mind) especially if there is stagnation in our body too due to slowed down circulation. It is therefore important that apart from keeping our circulation going well with warm and pungent foods/herbs (as mentioned above), we must keep ourselves dry as much as possible. Same goes with the environment around, which can be kept dry by moderate and therapeutic use of air conditioners (but only on as and when basis and that too at a temperature of around 27 degrees. Remember the bigger aim during rainy season is to control humidity more than the temperature).
(d) Loss of water due to sweating must be compensated with enough fluids and salt however cold potency fluids should be avoided or should be well spiced. For example buttermilk should have cumin/ajwain with black salt, milk can have a dash of nutmeg/cinnamon. Curd should be totally avoided during this season. One can also use light neem based soaps to take warm water showers to keep the sweat pores open so that skin is able to breath. Also neem through skin will help to keep a check on any fungal/algae/microorganism growth in the body. Fumigation with neem leaves is also beneficial to keep environment around clean.
(e) Enjoying showers of monsoon has a therapeutic/calming/rejuvenating effect on the body after a hot spell and therefore we must not be scared of getting wet under rains. However those having diseases due to poor blood circulation manifesting in body aches, depression, constipation, sluggishness etc, should totally avoid taking such cold shower. Also its logical to not to enter cold areas/air conditioned atmosphere or even under fan, after taking shower. In this regard, I strongly recommend to read this blog ⇓⇓⇓
WHY LORD SHIVA IS OFFERED WATER DURING SAWAN- IT’S THE GOD INSIDE US THAT NEEDS NURSING
(f) Lastly, one must exercise prudence through conscious living to eat wisely during different weather conditions and that too in line with one’s constitution. Remember that there are weather fluctuations within the same weather too which can be more accurately realized and utilized only when we live closer to nature away from the rat race of city in a sattvic atmosphere.
POST MONSOON TIPS
Post monsoon, the Sun becomes brighter and increases heat in the atmosphere thereby increasing Pitta (heat) in the body. Astrologically, it is the effect of Sun in its own zodiac – Leo. Therefore it is the time when we must reduce the intake of high Pitta foods i.e. hot and pungent spices and foods which are sour, warm and pungent like tomatoes which were good to health during cold rainy season. Even chyawanprash should be avoided during this time as it is warm and pungent in nature unless one is staying in cold atmosphere. However, since sour foods are essential for a good blood circulation by reducing wrinkles (vata in Ayurvedic terms) and keeping our body stretched , this is the time to consume Amla (indian gooseberry) which is sour yet cold and is also rich in vitamin c, iron, fiber, many micronutrients apart from being highly alkaline in nature despite being pungent and sour.
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