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Prevent food poisoning while travelling during monsoon

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Everybody wants to eat safe and pure food, and this may become a bit concerning while travelling especially during monsoon. Rainy season is fun and exciting, and the lush green environment makes monsoon-travel soothing and refreshing. Transition phase from summer to monsoon is ideal for bacterial growth due to humidity and moisture in the environment, which can increase the foodborne infections leading to food poisoning.

Ill health may be caused by food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or toxins. The common food poisoning symptoms are abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea. Most food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment; however people may need medical attention and even hospital admission. Ensuring adequate hydration is the most important aspect of treatment. This infection may worsen when you are travelling, and you are not taking enough precautions, or you may not know the climate condition of that particular place. There is a famous saying “Garbage in garbage out” by George Fuechsel, in computing world this means “if you input the wrong data, results will also be wrong. This can metaphorically be applied to human bodies too. Meaning what you eat, your body will get the effect of the food, and good healthy food reflects good health and the contaminated food reflects poor health.

While travelling you must take the following precautions:

• Avoid eating buffet food as buffet foods are warmed up and then left like that for a long time which has maximum chances of food contamination and an ideal environment for bacterial growth.

• Avoid eating cut salads in buffets. Ask for freshly cut salad or cut it yourself. Also, avoid sprouts and mushrooms salads during monsoons. Try to have sautéed, steamed or cooked vegetables.

• Wherever possible ask for warm freshly cooked food. This will help avoid contamination.

• When it comes to fruits, stick to the one which you can peel by yourself like banana, orange, etc. Cut, sliced and unpeeled fruits like grapes berries lead to maximum infection as they may have been cleaned with contaminated water. In case you wish to have fruits like berries, make sure you wash them well with clean water

• Everybody wants to enjoy ice creams, shakes, fruit cream, etc. However, milk and milk products should be avoided due to its high sugar content which is one of the ideal environments for bacterial growth.

• Take lukewarm water or hot drinks instead of summer drinks like buttermilk, Lassi, juices, yoghurt and sugar cane juice as they can harbour microbes and increase the risk of infection and can upset digestive system.

• Avoid eating eat eggs or meat which is not cooked well. They are very common carriers of bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli.

• Always remember to wash your hands well with a good antibacterial soap after visiting the toilet. This is a must because the door handles, taps and other surfaces of a toilet are known to have almost three times the number of bacteria on the toilet seat.

• If possible, take emergency food rations with you on your travels for example dry nuts or seeds. Sunflower seeds, almonds and other nuts are rich in protein and are related with increased satiety. These have very fewer chances of bacterial infections. You may have these nuts and seeds as snacks or starters while travelling.

Have a safe and healthy monsoon travel!!

Ms Farah Arfeen, Certified Metabolic Balance Coach and Nutritionist, AktivOrtho
Text by Farah Arfeen
Certified Metabolic Balance Coach and Nutritionist, AktivOrtho


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