We are constantly hunting for soothing foods and drinks to get some relief from the heat. Think before you pick up something cold like sodas, sugary syrups or even cold water; are they right choices for your dear health? This is where we can go wrong as anything extremely low in temperature can constrict our blood vessels affecting the heat loss process from our body.
Time to recall what our Granny’s always say: eat fresh, seasonal produce and of course no foods at extreme temperatures. Consuming foods that are not in season may come with a risk of chemicals and preservatives used to keep the veggies and fruits fresh.
Summer season calls for a change in the diet and lighter meals, with more fluids. Let’s list out some easy and practical do’s and don’ts for our summer diet and feel fresh and healthy through the season.
- Water still remains the best option to quench thirst.
Increase water intake regardless of your activity levels. Water keeps you hydrated, cool, and keeps “things” moving in the right direction. Use #kFit# app and track your water intake regularly to avoid dehydration.
- Balance your body’s fluids and electrolytes:
Nature has blessed us with amazing health drinks in its truest forms. What can be more soothing than the humble coconut water or freshly squeezed out sugarcane juice. They naturally take care of the mineral requirement in the body
- Do not drink chilled liquids.
They may make you cool temporarily but may lead to a slight constriction of the blood vessels in the skin and decrease heat loss. Water can be made tasty by adding such fragrant substances like ‘khas‘, ‘sandal’, ‘camphor’ or ‘rose’. Try infused waters as a tastier option.
- Always go for light diet which can be easily digested by our body without much effort.
- Avoid spicy, hot and extremely salty food as they are hard to digest. The body retains salt in the organic form found in fruits and veggies; the inorganic salt, meanwhile, is digested and needs to be thrown out of the body.
- Cut the intake of fried foods, like vadas, samosas, chips, bhajias, farsans, etc. Fat has a thermal effect .
- Avoid caffeinated or carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages, and sugar loaded drinks. All these drinks contain preservatives, colors and sugars. They cause loss of fluids through urine. Many soft drinks contain diluted phosphoric acid, which damages the inner lining of the digestive tract and, therefore, affects its functions.
- Reduce intake of heat generating vegetables and fruits, like, hot peppers, garlic, beetroot, spices.
- Minimise the intake of dried fruits as they are difficult to digest.
- Use sabza(desi chia seeds) in drinks – a super coolant for the body.
- Go for sea food in place of red meat.
Though we have an array of foods around us, here’s the #kfit list of Summer Super Foods:
A delicious and healthy alternative to ice-cream as they are packed with nutrients, vitamins and calcium which help to soothe ulcers, allergies and heat boils during the season. It increases friendly bacteria in the gut and improves digestion and boosts immunity. Have it your way in form of smoothies, buttermilk or refreshing lassi.
An inexpensive way to good health. It is laden with simple sugars, electrolytes and essential minerals. Drink it for its cancer fighting and anti-ageing properties as well. Remember to scoop out the tender coconut and eat it before you discard its shell. It contains vitamins, minerals and precious potassium.
Summer’s coolest, juiciest and healthiest foods – Melons
Eat the water in watermelons..its 92 % fruit , yet has a super satiety value. It can help protect skin from oxidative stress that contributes to the aging process, clear up acne and brighten a dull complexion Avoid buying cut fruits available in supermarkets or roadside vendors.
Sunscreen in a glass – Tomatoes
Tomatoes in any form; juices, salads, salsa could give you extra protection as they lycopene—the carotenoid that makes tomatoes red and which can help protect all of that exposed skin from UV rays during summer months.
Stay cool as a Cucumber
Along with 96% water content , the fiber in them can help keep constipation at bay. They contain vitamin C and silica which are known for tissue growth and skin cleansing properties. Consume cucumbers with the skin as their outer skin is rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber.
Layers of Cooling: Onions
Undoubtedly, it is the best food to prevent sunstrokes. The red onions, in particular, are very rich in quercetin, which is a natural anti-allergen. Add it to your curries, dips, raitas, salads to help you stay cool.
Excellent snack to nibble on during your office breaks. A good source of pantothenic acid, which provides vitamin B to lower stress levels, corn in any form whether it is roasted or boiled is a healthy snack as it lowers cholesterol levels .The two antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—in corn may act like natural sunglasses.
Relish the taste with a dash of salt and a touch of butter.
Have them for their anti oxidants and vitamin A content. Raw mango is extremely beneficial to prevent sunstroke and weakness. Raw mango juice also known as aam panna can help balance electrolytes in the body. Unripe mangoes can be steamed, pealed and mixed with cumin seeds and salt to make an effective remedy for heat strokes and exhaustion in summers. Add jaggery to cut down the sourness of the mangoes.
Drinks to beat the heat:
Bring on the masala chaas (spiced buttermilk), aam panna, cold pressed fruit and vegetable juices, mint lemonade, barley water, kokum sherbet, raagi malt or kanji, sattu ka paani.
Staying well hydrated will keep your memory sharp, mood stable and increase work efficiency. They all help as a liver cleanser, boosting the metabolism and improved digestion and immunity apart from rehydrating your system.
Do you feel you are suffering from heat stroke?
In spite of all precautions you take, it is possible that you might be impacted by the extreme heat. Here are some quick tips to get you back up:
- Drink plenty of water and stay away from the sun.
- Consume water containing electrolyte, juices and glucose to maintain electrolyte balance.
- Plenty of fruits & vegetables, protein intake like legumes, beans, tofu, low fat milk & milk products is also important.
- Peppermint oil mixed with water or rubbing onion juice on palms and soles are age old remedies for heatstroke.
And finally, we wrap up this section with a sample summer diet that can be you cal follow to stay cool all day long:
Breakfast: Eat fresh fruits with milk/yogurt and a light no-sugar cereal to keep light and active. They are natural sources of energy.
Mid-morning: A revitalizing glass of buttermilk/ coconut water.
Lunch: A bowl of salad with roti/rice and sabji/dals/eggs.
Evening: A fresh fruit smoothie with chia seeds. They are filling, nourishing and very cooling.
Dinner: A light dinner like stir fried veggies/ cold soups + steamed fish/ paneer/ tofu or a raita.
Stick to nature’s provisions of vast healthy foods and you can experience the bloom of our health and vitality this summer
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