Are the monsoons dampening your fun-filled plans? With rainy days lying ahead of us, many of us cannot wait to gorge on roadside golgappas and chaat or reach out for that warm cup of chai with a steaming plate of pakodas. While the rain may bring respite from the sizzling heat, it also brings with it a series of infections, diseases and the occasional flu that you must protect yourself from. Dolly Kumar, founder, Gaia shares health foods that you must include in your daily diet during monsoons that will help you stay healthy and active:

1. A wonderfully healthy beverage, green tea is packed with antioxidants and is known to strengthen the immune system and improve memory. It also comes packed with nutrients, minerals and bioactive compounds that help in increasing detoxification process in your body, leaving you with improved digestion and clear skin. Add a teaspoon/tablet of Stevia and squeeze a lemon in your cup of green tea.

2. Monsoons are also the time when many of us catch the stomach bug due to the consumption of contaminated food or water. Known to contain cooling properties, neem is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and has blood purifying properties. Neem doesn’t only help increase the body’s resistance against infections but also strengthens one’s immune and digestive system. Alternatively, you can also try aloe vera which helps maintain overall health. Aloe vera also aids in proper digestion and is useful in the case of constipation and acidity, something most of us suffer with during monsoon time.

3. Why not prepare your own pakodas at home using some healthy olive oil? A great alternative to regular cooking oil and ideal for almost all cuisines, olive oil is rich in monosaturated fatty acids and has a light texture that would complement with your dish perfectly. Packed with antioxidants, it also reduces the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer.

4. Cold and sore throat are common problems that people face during the monsoon season. Honey is proven to have a soothing effect on a sore throat. Grate half a ginger, add a spoonful of honey and you have the perfect natural remedy to cure yourself of a sore throat. A great substitute for sugar, raw honey is a natural sweetener which is fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free.