Running in the monsoons - Part 2

The right food

The monsoons tend to make us sluggish and lazy, and many of us yearn to curl up in bed with a book or a hot cup of tea or coffee, listening to the sound of the rain outside. Battling the urge to remain indoors is one of the first obstacles a runner has to overcome, but once that’s done with, the rest isn’t rocket science! We’ve already taken you through the right kind of gear that you need when going out for a run in the rain, and now, we’re shifting the focus on to food.

Your diet doesn’t have to change overnight even if the weather does. But since the rains have a well-known tendency to make us lethargic, it is important to eat light and stay active. The monsoon is also the season associated with the most number of illnesses and diseases, so a healthy diet is a must.

  • Soups: Vegetable and other clear soups are a must in anyone’s monsoon diet. Not only do they help in keeping the cold at bay, but also is it one of the richest sources of the right nutrients, that do not make you feel heavy even after a bowl-full. Soups also help in keeping you hydrated.

  • Tea: Increase your intake of green tea during the rains (preferably without milk). Lemon and black tea, other herbal varieties, and also ginger teas help in digestion. They also serve as anti-oxidants and prevent colds and fever.
  • Fruits instead of fruit juices: Dry foods are safest in the monsoons because the chances of bacteria and subsequently, infections, are least in anything that isn’t semi-solid or liquid. Fruits help in restoring energy, particularly apples, mangoes, pomegranates and pears. Avoid melons. Opt for fresh fruits instead of fruit juices. If you are craving for juices, prepare them fresh at home and consume immediately. Completely avoid street vendors. If you are used to having a glass of juice before you run, try switching to eating a fruit instead. Similarly, eat fresh and whole vegetables in place of salads.
  • Reduce salt: Having low and medium salty food is highly recommended in the monsoon season. As water retention increases during this time of year, foods that are high in salt are best avoided, along with watery and naturally sour foods like tamarind, tomatoes and lime.
  • Garlic: Increase your body’s resistance by adding a dash of garlic to any food you cook during this season. Be it soups or stir fries, a few cloves of garlic will take the health quotient up a notch by bettering your digestion as well as your immunity.
  • Water: As with any other season, it is important to keep yourself hydrated at all times. Runners need to keep their joints active by drinking a glass of warm water with a pinch of tulsi and cardamom first thing in the morning. This home remedy also helps those with arthritis and other joint pains.

Finally, the most important mantra you need to follow in the monsoons is- Don’t eat if you aren’t hungry! Of course, this doesn’t imply that you starve, as you aren’t going to get the energy you need to run if you do that. But eat right and light, and this can keep you away from illness and inactivity throughout this time of year.