The monsoon season brings relief from extreme heat with the onset of refreshing rains. Everyone is busy with monsoon preparation buying rainwear, rainy boots, umbrellas, planning road trips, etc.However, this season also brings a seasonal cold, flu, typhoid, mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue, covid 19 and stomach infections are very common. Monsoon- related diseases could be even more distressing for our overall well-being.Hence, we need to ensure that the food we eat should offer a good balance between nutrition and immunity.Keeping the body warm and boosting the immune system is the key to build resistance and prevent infections. Practising mindful eating behaviours, choosing the right seasonal foods, staying physically active and being positive is the best way to maintain good health during monsoon season..Foods that boosts immunityHerbs and spicesSpices and herbs like ginger, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg are anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-bacterial and boost immunity. They help in fighting parasites, viruses and germs.FruitsSeasonal fruits like jamun, pears, plum, cherries, peaches, papaya, apples, and pomegranates as provide nutrients like vitamins A, C, antioxidants and fibre during the monsoon. These fruits improve digestion, maintains gut health and improves immune response. Cut fruits just prior to eating to preserve their nutrition.VegetablesMonsoon is when vegetables like bottle gourd, bitter gourd, ash gourd, ridge gourd, snake gourd, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, bhindi and radish are available in plenty. Add these veggies liberally to your regular diet to maintain good gut health and improve immunity.NutsNuts and seeds are loaded with proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It should be included every season to maintain good physical and mental health.GarlicGarlic helps fight with the common cold, flu and triggers your immunity..TurmericIt contains curcumin that has antiseptic, antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti- inflammatory qualities.These trigger your immune system naturally and combat infections. Drinking turmeric milk or adding this golden spice powder to your daily meal is an excellent way to boost your overall health. Turmeric is a very effective and powerful remedy for all your monsoon-related illnesses..Water and other fluidsDrink boiled water to stay hydrated. Boiled water keeps you warm and also maintains body temperature, kills the viruses and bacteria.Freshly made kadha, herbal teas, coffee, broths and soups and other hot beverages are rehydrating and help to maintain electrolyte balance, detoxify the system and are essential for boosting the immune system, feeling warm and maintaining the body temperature.Fermented foodsFermented foods like yoghurt, buttermilk, and pickled vegetables are good source of probiotics that improve and maintain gut flora. Probiotics are good bacteria that help fight disease-causing pathogens and other harmful bacteria.LemonA power bank of vitamin C, it is a potent antioxidant. Lemons are a great addition to your monsoon diet that help to enhance immune response and prevent all types of infections. Add lemon juice to your food and lemon zest (the outer skin of lemon) to any dish or drink.GingerGinger also has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Adding ginger to tea or ginger juice in soups or to a kadha keeps you warm, regulates the body temperature. It also strengthens the immune system.It is important to avoid unhealthy food habits to decrease the risk of contracting infections during the monsoon season..Eating outsideTry to avoid eating food outside especially street food stalls, as the temperature during monsoon is ideal for bacterial and fungal growth and there is an increased risk of food and waterborne infections. Stick to the homemade freshly made foods.Limit the consumption of fried foodsIt is fine to have fried foods like samosa or pakoras occasionally in moderate amounts. Eating these in excess quantities can lead to several gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, bloating and diarrhoea. Avoid reusing oil previously used for frying, as it can be toxic to your health..Cleaning vegetables properlyThe temperature and humidity of this season is favourable for bacterial and fungal growth, especially on green leafy vegetables. It is important to wash these veggies thoroughly and cook them properly before eating.Limit non-veg foodThe risk of water contamination is high during the monsoon season. Avoid eating fish and seafood during monsoon as they often carry infections that can cause you to fall ill, especially if food is not properly cooked.