New Delhi: Monsoon is here! Whether you're dancing with joy or sulking at home to avoid the rains, it's that time of the year when a plate full of hot samosas and bhajjiyas is all you crave.
Along with the cooling weather, rains have always brought loads of illnesses like blocked nose, skin allergies and water-borne infections. Moreover, our digestive system takes quite a beating during this season because of the high humidity levels. Following a healthy lifestyle has always proved beneficial in preventing as well as combating ailments and diseases and so, food scientist Shefali Bhardwaj, Chief Operations Officer at IG International Pvt. Ltd., listed down some fruits that offer protection against season-specific ailments.
Speaking on the same, Bhardwaj told ANI, "Monsoon is definitely one of the beautiful seasons, the delightful season that everyone eagerly awaits for, also brings apprehensions unique to its own. The pouring weather is known to increase humidity in the atmosphere besides raising water clogging issues, both of which become the breeding ground for germs and insects."
"This makes it crucial for the body to strengthen its immune system during monsoon and fight diseases and infections with appropriate intake of essential vitamins and antioxidants - all of that, naturally," she added.
Having a few slices of apples a day will keep away most of the illnesses that one could possibly get, even during the monsoon season. Apple has soluble fibres, mainly found in oats and nuts, that contribute to strengthening the immune system and reducing the inflammation associated with obesity-related diseases. This happens because soluble fibre causes increased production of an anti-inflammatory protein called interleukin-4. Being rich in many nutrients, apples can strengthen the immune system and keep one free from infections.
Apples have a flavonoid called quercetin, which is proven to significantly improve the immunity of body against infections.
This nutrient-infused fruit helps in improving immunity, and is particularly essential in the monsoon season. Pomegranates have three kinds of antioxidants namely, tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Its seeds are the powerhouse of nutrients. Antioxidants are essential to keep cells in our bodies healthy and able to resist infections, minimize inflammations, and prevent organ damage. Pomegranate juice contains the highest concentration of antioxidants naturally found - even more than red wine, concord grape juice, blueberry juice, black cherry juice, açai juice, cranberry juice, orange juice, ice tea and apple juice. The antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice can be as much as three times higher than that of green tea and red wine.
This is one of the low-calorie fruits, providing just 58 calories per 100g. It contains a fair amount of vitamin C, dietary fibre, antioxidants, other vitamins and minerals, which are required for optimum functioning of body for a healthy living. Pears are a good source of dietary fibre. Pear is a modest source of antioxidant phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds along with vitamin C and A help the body to stay protected from harmful free radicals.
4. Litchi: It is a rich source of vitamin C and hence aids in building up the resistance of the body and also strengthens the immune system. It is also a good source of antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. It more essentially contains the polyphenol 'oligonol', which again has antioxidant and antiviral properties. Rutin is a bioflavonoid found in litchi that helps in strengthening blood vessels.
5. Cherries: The antioxidant melatonin, found in cherries have a soothing effect on brain neurons and the nervous system, which in turn helps in improving irritability, insomnia, headaches and establish regular sleep patterns. Sweet cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins, each of which may have an important role to play in cancer prevention.
Apart from protecting against the damage of free radicals, the antioxidants (vitamin C, carotenoids and flavonoids) also strengthen the body's immunity and protect from bacterial, viral and fungal infections, particularly those of colon, urinary tract, intestines, and excretory system along with coughs and colds. They are also very effective in giving protection against flu and other fevers.
Cherries prevent oral infections and keep bad breath away. The acids and flavonoids in cherries are good appetizers. They are even effective in protecting from seasonal infections like cough, cold, pox, mumps, and measles.
6. Jamun: It is a low calorie fruit, full of nutrients such as folate, iron, potassium and minerals. Its composition makes it one of the most suitable fruits for consumption during monsoon. It is a very good source of phytochemicals, mainly anthocyanins, tannins and other phenolic compounds. These antioxidants help in boosting immunity and are essential for a healthy body and mind. It is astringent and a bit acidic in nature, which is why they are eaten with a light sprinkle of salt in many parts of the world.
It enriches the blood with haemoglobin and protects the liver from damage. Natural acids found in Jamun play an essential role in digestive enzyme secretion. The pulp of Jamun is also used as a home remedy for asthma and chronic cough.