Its summertime again. The rising temperatures and the soaring heat brings it’s own health risks. But, a few simple changes in your daily routine and food choices will help you stay cooler and enjoy the summer heat.
One of the main risks posed by a harsh summer is dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. So, how does one cope with this?
The first and foremost would be to stay indoors if it is possible during the hottest part of the day i.e. between 12 and 4 pm especially the kids and the elderly. Secondly, keep hydrating at regular intervals whether you feel the thirst or not. Have plenty of cool water, fresh fruit juices, lemonades, herbal teas, coconut water, etc. However, avoid tea, coffee and alcohol. Thirdly, choose to wear loose, cool colored clothing and equip yourself with a hat, generous amounts of sunscreen and an umbrella if you need to be outdoors during the afternoon scorching heat. Last but not the least, try doing the strenuous physical activities during the cooler parts of the day like early morning or later during the evenings.
And yes, besides these steps there are these summertime foods that tend to keep you cool, light and in good health. Also, eating seasonal foods makes sure you are eating the best produce of that season with the highest nutritive content. So, take a few tips from our list for fresh, light and nutritious foods and feel cool even when it is steamy outside.
- Yogurt / Curd: Yogurt, a natural coolant packed with nutrients should be a part of your daily meals. A chilled glass of buttermilk or lassi has a refreshing effect when you are back from the heat outside. Children can also have the yogurt in the form of delicious smoothies with fruits or as dips.
- Watermelon: Beat the heat exhaustion with chilled watermelon in summer. It can replace any sweetened or soft drink with its high water content and natural sweetness. On a hot summer day nothing beats a cold and juicy slice of watermelon, not mentioning the negative calories in them!
- Cucumbers: Stay cool as a cucumber with this crunchy vegetable. With more than 90% of the vegetable being water, this comes as one of the top choices in summer to stay well hydrated.
- Muskmelons: Prevent heat related problems in summer with yet another fruit, the humble muskmelon. Rich in phytonutrients it has high antioxidant and anti – inflammatory properties. Make a refreshing juice out of this fruit or eat it as a part of a fruit salad in the warm summer months.
- Coconut Water: Look out for this drink when you are on the run in the heat. The simple sugars and electrolytes will prevent heat stroke and keep you energetic. And yes, especially those who are playing an outdoor sport, coconut water can be the best sports drink.
- Green Vegetables: Vegetables contain a high percentage of water. Make sure to include a lot of veggies in the raw form to be able to keep increasing your intake of water. Just a small tip when you cook them – overcooking will take away the moisture from the vegetables. So cook them just right for the natural crispness to remain even in the cooked vegetable.
- Lemonade: The age old nimbupaani works wonders in the heat. Add salt and pepper and have it sweet or salted, with water or plain soda.
- Mango: The king of fruits is available in plenty in the summer season, both raw and ripe. AamPanna, the tangy drink made from raw mangoes can serve to be an excellent coolant when you are home from the blistering heat. It is one of the best remedies for sun stroke. Soaking ripe mangoes in water an hour prior to eating it will enhance the cooling effect of the mango.
- Barley Water: Because of its cooling properties barley water can be your choice of beverage in the hot season. A dash of lemon and honey can greatly improve the taste of barley water.
- Herbs & Spices: Mint is a cooling herb. It can be added to lemonade or just plain drinking water for a refreshing effect. A spice that you can reach out for in summer is fennel seeds. A fennel seed drink in the hot summer months is also an excellent cooling drink. Besides, fresh coriander leaves or coriander seeds are also quite cooling.
Now having listed down the foods that can help you beat the summer heat, there are some foods that one needs to stay away from, for the simple reason that they tend to increase the body temperature thereby making a person tired and lethargic.
The foods that are a no-no are:
- Oily food: Burgers, vadapavs, fries, etc are foods that need to be avoided.
- Tea / Coffee: Caffeine in tea, coffee and other drinks can actually dehydrate your body. Avoid these drinks.
- Rich gravies: Rich gravies with meat or vegetables are heavy to digest and can cause gastric distress. Light, freshly prepared food is the choice for the summer months.
- Spices: Certain spices like ginger, cinnamon and pepper may increase the rate of metabolism and hence best avoided in the summer months.
So, chuck the chilled beers, energy drinks and the frozen desserts and load your refrigerators and cabinets with the foods listed above and stay chilled this summer.