Summer cheer is here! Most people love summers to binge on the juicy summer fruits and cool cocktails. This is the season of melons and mangoes which are absolute favorite fruits. To escape the heat, we all like to sip on refreshin summery drinks, juices, shakes and mocktails. Keeping oneself hydrated is the key to stay cool in the hot season. Dehydration and heat stroke are the common health issues that we face in this season. Also a lot of waterborne infections like gastroenteritis, jaundice, typhoid and cholera also on the rise. Our food habits play a major role in keeping the wellbeing as what we eat is very important.
Summers are also damaging for the skin where our skin tends to get dry quickly and suffer sunburns when exposed to sunlight for longer hours. Hence, there are certain things that you must keep in mind to stay healthy and cool. Keep reading for the tips.
The golden mantra – Eating smart will keep you slim, healthy and cool this summer.
A few handy tips
When humidity rises, sweat does not evaporate easily, so body heat is trapped – thus the danger of dehydration and heat stroke. Keep your body well hydrated with clear fluids. For every hour that you are in the sun, drink at least 1-2 glasses of fluids. Remember to carry your water bottle when you go out. Do not use polyethylene plastic bottles as the plastic can leach into the water. Prefer to use stainless steel or glass bottles. It is advisable to drink 10-12 glasses of fluids every day.
Drinks to hydrate
Sweet lime/lemon juice, mintade, coconut water, thin butter milk, fresh homemade fruit and vegetable juice. Using tulsi and mint leaves in your drinks has a cooling effect. Fresh iced tea prepared at home is very refreshing, has very few calories and plenty of antioxidants.
Drinks to avoid
Caffeinated, carbonated beverages, other sugary drinks, alcohol need to be reduced as they are acidic and diuretic and aggravate dehydration. In case you take alcohol then keep sipping water in between your drinks. Many fizzy drinks have some amount of phosphoric acid which may irritate the lining of the stomach. Their excessive intake may also draw out calcium from the bones making them brittle.
A good breakfast
Head out in the morning well hydrated and after having a nutritious breakfast otherwise your skin will sag and wrinkle in the summer sun, you may get dehydrated and even faint. A suitable breakfast option is a combination of complex carbs rich in fiber and high protein foods. For example – any whole grain along with eggs/tofu/sprouts followed by a bowl of fresh fruits. Your digestion may slow down in the heat so learn to eat light, small but frequent.
Good and Bad Summer Foods
- Consume foods that are low fat, cooling, light and nutritious. Look for fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables from a good source. A fruit salad containing berries and stone fruit like peaches, cherries, blackberries, apricots, carrots, grapefruit, cherry tomatoes, beetroot are not only abundant in flavonoids, carotenes and fiber but also have a cooling effect and keep your weight in check.
- Freshly cut watermelon is a good hydrating food. It also has cancer fighting pigments (lycopenes) and just 40 calories /cup. It even provides essential electrolytes lost in the sweat.
- Mangoes soaked overnight and then eaten are cooling and rich in vitamin A.
- Greens like the leaves of radish, drumsticks, spinach, spring onions and watery vegetables are abundant in essential micronutrients and antioxidants like manganese, zinc, iron, calcium and copper.
- Include ‘raitas’ and cold yoghurt.
- There are several low-calorie protein options which can be combined well with fruits and vegetables – nuts, sprouts, seeds, soy, yoghurt, cottage cheese, grilled/steamed fish and chicken. Nutritionwithneera.com discuss in detail the benefits of the right food combinations
- Heavy fatty and fried food - Avoid ‘vadas’, ‘samosas’, French fries, ‘bhajjias’, ‘pakoras’. Fat has a thermal effect, takes a long time to digest and makes you more thirsty
- Sugary foods
- Hot spicy and extremely salty food - Use less salt in cooking
- Left over food
Rules for eating out
Avoid raw and cold foods – especially salads, cut fruit, chutneys, chaat, creamy cakes and pastries, fruit juices, or ice creams. These may be tempting but very likely to cause stomach infections if not stored at the right cool temperature. In India, there are frequent power breakdowns and voltage fluctuations – these may cause the microbes to grow and multiply on food.
A few other suggestions
- When buying ice creams check the expiry date and even bulges on the packaging which indicates that the ice cream has melted and refrozen
- Wear sunscreen on all exposed areas of your body
- Choose your clothes aptly – light coloured cotton which will keep you comfortable and cool
- Avoid going out during noon – use an umbrella
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