India, the country with rich culture and equally rich cuisine has always been on the traveling list of millions of tourists. People from every corner of the world come to embrace the incredible food culture of India. From Northern India to Southern India the Indian palate is extremely varied, and if one wants to try all the dishes in India he or she may have to take a couple of years off and stay in India.
However, sometimes it’s not all glorious as it sounds. The moment you share with your friends and family that you are heading to India for the first time you start getting advice on how to avoid getting sick. Agreed, eating in India can be a bit taxing on a few travelers but the key is to take some basic precautions. As a first time (or many time) traveler to India, you just need to be careful or aware of a few things to go back home hale and hearty.
Do remember that all the precautions can’t save you from Delhi Belly or what is otherwise known as the Traveler’s belly but no harm in trying to be safe. Before we proceed any further, let us remind you that any kind of sickness or illness can’t be because of food alone. The environment also contributes in a person falling sick but in this article we will focus only on how to eat healthy and stay out of the hospital in India.
If you want to enjoy the amazing experiences India has to offer, follow these tips for tourists on how to eat well and stay healthy in India.
Health Tip # 1. Eat less to start with
If you are a normal human being, you just can’t resist mouth-watering food of India but that’s what you must do…hold your temptation to avoid sickness. Eat less in initial days and gain an appetite for Indian food before you start hogging.
Health Tip # 2. Use sanitizer often
Not all parts of India have good sanitization conditions so keep washing or sanitizing your hands often. Disinfect often to avoid getting sick. Some places get used often (for instance the handrails of a bus or a train, door knobs etc) and are storehouses of germs. Always clean your hands before and after eating food or snacks.
Health Tip # 3. Avoid tap water
Drinking tap water in India is a big no no! Make sure you always drink purified and bottled mineral water. Unhygienic water may upset your stomach. While the Indians have built up immunity towards such water, you just don’t have the stomach for it. So never drink tap water. Whenever you buy a water bottle from store, please ensure that the bottle is sealed tightly.
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Health Tip # 4. Go for packaged food items
You’d surely want to eat a variety of food, especially street food while visiting the local market but remember, one wrong step can make you ill. When you start your travel, start by eating packaged Indian food. You can gradually move to unpacked food. Always prefer food items that are well packed and fresh. Since we are talking of packaged food, one of the things you need to pack is probiotic for travelers’ diarrhea just to be on the safer side.
Health Tip # 5. Eat at popular restaurants
We know you love your privacy and personal space and that is why you prefer not-so-crowded restaurants. Sometimes, this can be the difference between staying alive or getting sick. If you notice that you are the only one eating at a restaurant, you must stop eating right then and try and identify a popular restaurant. Chances are that restaurant where you were eating Indian food is being ignored even by the locals.
Health Tip # 6. Drink bottled water
Always go for bottled water to avoid risk of contracting germs via the water glass. If you feel that the bottle’s rim could be dirty, use a straw. Before using the straw make sure it was packed properly and not left out in the open for days on end.
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Health Tip # 7. Think twice before eating street food
India is famous for its delicious street food but they can easily upset your health. You can enjoy the street food if you use your common sense. Have a good look at the shop and around it too and you will get a vibe – trust that and move forward if you are still confident. A few checks can go a long way from making you sick – check if the oil they are using is fresh, and make sure the food you are eating is warm. Never eat cold food because they attract more germs.
Health Tip # 8. Don’t drink fruit juices & other uncooked items
Fruit juices are always considered excellent for health, but they can very easily make you sick. While traveling, don’t drink fruit juice as there are high chances that they are using contaminated water for washing the fruits. We also don’t recommend you eating vegetable salads or fruit salads since they won’t be cooked.
Health Tip # 9. Use your hands for eating
As I have said it earlier, you are supposed to wash your hands very often, so it’s rather helpful for you to dine with your own hands as it would reduce the risk of falling ill. It’s a culture in India to eat with right hand and is so much fun.
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Health Tip # 10. Go for vegetarian food
We strongly recommend trying vegetarian food in India. The chances of meat, chicken and fish catching germs or going bad are high, so why take the risk. If you are staying for a longer period you can always start off as a vegetarian and move towards non-vegetarian food as your holiday progresses.
These are professional tips learnt from travelers who had been to India and managed to get out without getting sick. We are sure, all those who head back home healthy – without any intestinal parasite infection or dysentery or diarrhea follow these tips. You should too! After all, prevention is better than cure.