When it comes to summer diet, eating light and the right kind of food that beats the heat is often advised by nutritionists. As the mercury level rises and appetite goes down, the risks of heat stroke, acidity, loss of elecrolytes and low energy need to be curbed with appropriate nutrition. (Also read: 5 refreshing detox drinks you must have this summer)
The intense heat wave has already started taking many parts of the country in its grip, and the cravings to have some cooling foods is natural. But, before you make unhealthy choices for yourself and guzzle multiple cans of processed beverages, here are some healthy foods that will help you deal with extreme weather while keeping summer health issues at bay.
Dr. Siddhant Bhargava, Fitness and Nutritional Scientist, Co-Founder – Food Darzee and Luke Coutinho, Nutritionist and Founder of YouCare – All about YOU by Luke Coutinho on top foods you must include in your summer diet.
1. Melons: Melons are the juiciest, coolest and healthiest foods that you can put your hands on during summer. They help us prevent several health problems such as cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease. Melons are also good for the stomach and propel weight loss too. Eat them in salads, desserts, smoothies, milkshakes and salsa.
2. Wood Apple (Bael): This aromatic fruit is cooling in nature and one of the best foods for acidity. One can eat it as is or prepare a juice or sherbet out of it. With the help of a spoon, scoop out the soft pulp from the wood apple and add a cup of water. Soak this mixture for 20 minutes. You can strain the mixture or use it as it is. Then add 2 tsp of jaggery, 1 tsp roasted cumin powder, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, and two pinches of black salt. Mix very well and serve.
3. Yoghurt: Perfectly apt for summers, this protein-packed and controlled food satisfies your hunger and helps to keep you away from overloading on salty, high-calorie snacks. It also contains probiotics, which will keep your digestive system healthy.
4. Kokum: This stimulates appetite and improves digestion. It can be added while seasoning curries, juice, or in sol kadhi – a Konkani beverage.
5. Coconut Water: Tender coconut water is rich in vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. Coconut water during summers not just beats the heat and provides much-needed relief under a sweltering sun, but also restores the essential electrolytes, which often are wiped out due to sweating. Drink coconut water in its most natural form to stay hydrated, cut sodium, and also to add potassium to your diet.
6. Basil Seeds (Sabja): This is a natural coolant, and it helps alleviate acidity, constipation, and skin health. It can be soaked for 4–5 hours in water and then consumed by adding it to water or any beverage.
7. Tomato: The advantages of tomatoes need no introduction. They are rich in a substance called lycopene. It guards your skin against the ultraviolet rays of the sun and gives it extra protection in the summer.
Amid several lifestyle changes, during summers just try these simple yet effective remedies of eating fresh and seasonal produce as nutrients in them are at their peak. Sometimes, the solutions are fairly simple and tasty too.
8. Vetiver Roots: Not only is vetiver (khus) root water significantly cooling for the system, it is also an excellent natural antioxidant and alkalizer. One can reap its benefits by infusing drinking water or preparing a sherbet.
Wash 1 cup of vetiver roots and soak it overnight (at least 10 hours) in 1 litre of water. Strain it and heat it by adding 3 tbsp of jaggery, reducing it to half. Store this in the refrigerator. To make sherbet, add 2 tbsp of the mix and add it to 1 glass of water; add a few drops of lemon, rock salt, and enjoy.