In India, eating serves another purpose besides filling an empty stomach. Despite the wide variety of foods available, the emphasis is on how and when individuals consume those foods. Indian cuisine from every state has a place in history, and there is always a reason why a particular food has been included in a meal. Ayurveda, an ancient Indian healing system detailed in the text of the Charaka Samhita, provides guidelines for the various seasonal foods that individuals consume, and tells why.
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Summer is a time when people suffer from heat-related conditions, such as heat stroke, sunburn and severe acne. At this time, Indians are advised to eat plenty of grains, such as oats, barley, wheat or rice. You should also consume vegetables with starch, like potatoes. Beans are a popular seasonal Indian food in the summer. Fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are ideal during this time. Among milk products, you can choose plain milk or ice cream. You should avoid cheeses and other dairy products. For meat eaters, quail and veal are good options, as well as the occasional rabbit’s meat.
In order to help the body keep warm, seasonal Indian foods for winter are deep-fried. There is also a preference for foods that are sour and saline based. Fish is a good food to consume in the winter. Vegetables such as beans help keep the insides nimble. Whole grains should be included as well. Meats of any kind should be eaten during this time. In terms of drinks, sugarcane juice is ideal, as well as warm water and any drinks made from warm milk. Indians eat plenty of rice during the winter.
Spring and Autumn Foods
These two seasons mark changes in the weather, and individuals are often prone to respiratory illnesses. A good food for this time is honey. People in India use it as a sweetener in food and drinks. You can also eat it straight. Millet is a good cereal to indulge in, and beans should be eaten. These help the body expel any moisture that can result in a cold.
Foods for the Rains
Dr. Anjali Mukherjee, who regularly addresses diet and nutrition issues, explains that rainy season is a time to avoid salty foods as well as cold foods. Instead of cold salads, opt for warm ones. The monsoon season is a time to eat vegetables like bitter gourd. Spice your food with turmeric, basil and fenugreek. Get creative with corn, chickpeas, oats and gram flour. These help dry up the inside of the body and prevent infections. Gourds such as snake, apple and pointed gourds are good choices. Yam is also in season. In terms of fruits, bananas and apples are necessary, and lychees, cherries and pomegranates are recommended. Switch to corn oil or olive oil during rains. Stay light with vegetables and meat, and opt for cooking over a grill.