'Right Foods can Prevent Diseases'
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23 July 2010
By Nitin Kumar
City hospitals have been inundated with cases of dysentery, malaria, swine flu and other rain–related diseases. Even though hospitals are equipped with all allopathic treatments for such diseases, some patients succumb. Dr Prakash Kondekar, a naturopath and director of Indian Institute of Naturopathy, speaks to DNA about natural ways of dealing with such diseases and everything that is wrong with our lifestyle.
Why is our immunity low during the monsoon?
Two things happen during the monsoon. Firstly, our digestive system becomes sluggish and, hence, we cannot digest everything easily, which in turn weakens our immune system. Secondly, bacteria and virus become more active during this season. So, if you don’t observe proper hygiene and don’t eat the right foods, you can get infected.
How we can strengthen our immune system and how does naturopathy help? Naturopathy shows how to maintain the right lifestyle and provides treatment for many diseases. It can improve your immune system and help you pick the right kind of food for your body. It shows you how food can be your medicine.
What sort of food should a normal person select during the monsoon?
You should minimise the intake of raw vegetables and certain fruits. This is because raw vegetables or fruits can be contain bacteria and viruses present in the moist environment. So, instead of raw food, one should eat boiled or steamed vegetables and sprouts. You should also avoid eating non–vegetarian food as it is not easily digestible. If you can’t avoid non–vegetarian food completely, then eat freshly prepared non–vegetarian items. Avoid fish during the monsoon as there is hardly any fresh fish available in the market as fishermen don’t venture out during this season. You should increase your intake of soup, cow’s milk and coconut water.
Should one avoid naturopathy if one is already on allopathic medicines or some other kind of treatment?
It’s a misconception that naturopathy cannot be adopted if one is on allopathic medicine. Naturopathy is complementary to any sort of treatment. Naturopathy helps one recover faster as it helps strengthen the immune system with the right kind of foods.
Naturopaths never ask a patient to stop taking allopathic medicine if a person suffers from swine flu, malaria, etc. Naturopathy cannot treat all diseases, but can control and prevent various illnesses with lifestyle changes and food habits. For example eating jaggery with bhuna chana helps reduce cough.
How can we prevent monsoon–related diseases with our food habits and lifestyle?
In monsoon the digestive system is sluggish so we should take easily digestible foods like steamed and non–oily and non–spicy food. Drinking a mixture of honey and lime in lukewarm water helps strengthen the immune system. After half an hour you can eat fruit like papaya, banana, plum and pomegranate. These contain fibre, multivitamins and minerals.
Drink milk only if your body can digest it. At lunch have carbohydrates and proteins, but not necessarily rice. You can take sprouts or steamed vegetables or cereals like wheat dalia, jowar ki roti which contain carbohydrate and protein. Such items are better than rice as they contain minerals and roughage too, unlike rice.