The arrival of the monsoons is greeted with a lot of happiness, as the rains bring a much-needed relief from the hot summer days. However, the change in season also brings along a new set of health challenges, and illnesses see a rise, mainly due to an imbalance in the doshas in the monsoon.
Doshas in the Monsoon
Doshas are present in every body – comprising of Vata (associated with movement), Pitta (associated with change) and Kapha (associated with stability). As the seasons change, the equilibrium of the five elements is disturbed, leading to an accumulation of certain doshas and the pacification of others.
Which doshas are aggravated in the monsoons?
The monsoons correspond with the Vata dosha being aggravated, the Pitta dosha being accumulated and a pacification of the Kapha dosha. During summer, the Vata in the body begins to accumulate. However, since it is a form of cold energy, the heat of the summer balances it out and there are no noticeable effects for the accumulation. Monsoons are the cold and dry seasons that tends to affect the accumulated cold energy of Vata; which results in aggravating the dosha leading to various illnesses and discomforts.
Health problems related to an aggravated Vata Dosha
When it rains, the accumulated heat of the summer in the earth is released, and causes the emission of certain vapours and gases. Coupled with an increase in the acidity of water and excess humidity, this season is considered the most sensitive of all the seasons of the year and requires the most care.
An aggravated Vata is closely related to a decrease in Agni which results in weak digestion, poor metabolism and low energy levels. Other effects include joint and muscular pain, acidity, gassiness, diarrhea, loss of appetite and flu-like symptoms such as cough and cold.
Foods to eat during Monsoons
Since the most aggravated dosha is Vata, it is advised to eat foods that pacify Vata, particularly in the form of small, easily digestible meals. Freshly prepared food is ideal, and it must be eaten when it is warm and has just been cooked. Opt for sour and salty foods during the first half of the monsoons and bitter foods towards the latter. We’ve listed foods that you can include in your diet in monsoon:
• Old honey, because it tends to be drier than new honey
• Old rice and wheat, barley
• Vegetable soups, preferably seasoned with pepper and ginger
• Ginger and garlic, fenugreek, bitter gourds
• Boiled and cooled water (this helps you to consume clean water)
• Kichdi, cooked with asafoetida to decrease the gassiness of lentils
• Herbal teas, spiced with ginger or cinnamon
• Buttermilk instead of curd
Foods to avoid during Monsoons
Heavy, oily foods should be avoided, particularly since the digestive fire or the agni is not at its peak. It is also advised to stay away from preserved foods and reheated meals. While fruits may be consumed, it’s best to restrict the quantity. Other foods to avoid during monsoons are:
• Cooling vegetables like cucumber, tomato
• Corn in any form and raw salads
• All kinds of potato dishes
• Cold meals, like breakfast cereals in cold milk
• Frozen/chilled foods and fermented foods
• Foods that cause flatulence, like beans
With proper care, it’s possible to alleviate the symptoms of aggravated Vata and maintain a balance of all the doshas within the body. It’s best to be aware of the doshas that get accumulated and aggravated every season, so that you can prepare in time for the change in weather.
Don’t know your Dosha? Take our Dosha Quiz to know what your dosha is.