Are you huffing and puffing with the rising temperatures all over the country? There is an easy way to beat the heat. Your food intake can largely affect your health and overall well-being during the hot summer months. Dehydration and low-energy levels are the most common side-effects of the brazen Indian summer. Eat right and make a few lifestyle changes to beat the heat this summer.
Cucumber: When you are constantly sweating and losing water, dehydration is quite common. To combat this phenomenon, choose water-rich fruits and vegetables like cucumber. It is also rich in fibre and helps to keep constipation away. And if you are on a diet, it is one of the healthiest low-calorie foods to keep you fuller for longer.
Watermelon: Seasonal watermelons are the best foods to beat the summer heat. Nothing offers more relief than a refreshing slice of sweet watermelon or a glass full of watermelon juice. It is an ideal fruit for the Indian summer because it helps to keep your body cool. With almost 95 percent water content, it helps to replenish the water reserves in your body. Besides, it is also a low-calorie food that you can munch anytime.
Melons: Summer is the season of melons. Whether it is watermelon, musk melon or honeydew melon, these are the perfect summer foods. It keeps you hydrated and energized on hot days.
CoconutWater: If you are looking for a natural and refreshing summer drink, coconut water is the best. Available all over India, it is a treat for a hot summer day. Loaded with essential nutrients and minerals, its cooling properties help you to beat the heat. Without the harmful side-effects of cold drinks, coconut water is a great choice for summer afternoons. You can also use it to make refreshing smoothies and juices.
Green Leafy Vegetables: The goodness of green leafy vegetables cannot be underestimated. It is a food for all seasons and is particularly good for the summer months. They are not only rich in essential minerals, vitamins and nutrients, they also have high water content. It is easy to digest and allows your body to cool down. If you are cooking leafy greens like spinach, always remember not to overcook them.
Bananas: Bananas are great for the body and the recipes that involve their use have a cooling effect. If you are feeling nauseous and uncomfortable during summer, have a banana and it will easily help to flush out the toxins from your body.
Yogurt: Another great food for the summer is yogurt. Add it to your diet to get your daily dose of dairy, which is an essential part of a healthy diet. It is extremely beneficial for gut health and prevents stomach ailments to a large extent. Summer is the season of stomach upsets and if you are regularly troubled by such issues, don’t forget your daily dose of yogurt. You can have it as a smoothie with fruits, sweet or salted lassi and also as an accompanying raita with your lunch.
Onions: Onions are widely used in Indian cuisine and you’ll be surprised to know about its benefits. Packed with quercetin, red onions have anti-allergic properties and help to fight against infection during summer. It is also known to offer protection against sun-strokes. Start adding more onions to your curries, salads, chutneys and raitas to get the most of this amazing vegetable.
Mint: Herbs such as mint are considered to be excellent ingredients to keep your body cool. It’s refreshing taste and flavour adds a different dimension to your everyday juices and teas. In very hot countries, people even prefer hot drinks such as tea with mint to cool their bodies. Mint leaves can even be stored in the refrigerator with the help of food wrapping paper.
Cooling Spices: We generally steer clear of spicy food during the summer. But, that doesn’t mean all spices should be ignored. Try to use herbs and spices such as parsley, chamomile, ginger and rosemary to cool your body. These can be used to prepare refreshing summer drinks. Mix it with juices or teas for an excellent cooling effect.
Celery: Celery is an amazing summer food and contains about 95 percent water. It is also loaded with essential minerals like potassium, sodium, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium and phosphorous.
Fresh Salads: Summer is also a season when you do not experience a great appetite. Instead of forcing yourself to eat a whole meal, settle for a bowl of fresh salad. Add vegetables, fruits and herbs of your choice to create a soothing and filling salad. Store in the refrigerator after wrapping properly.
Now that you know about the foods that can keep you cool, let’s find out a little bit about summer foods that you should avoid to beat the heat.
Avoid citrus fruits, carrots and beetroots during summer. These tend to heat up the body and you can feel uncomfortable. Try to limit the intake of extremely oily and spicy food. Stay away from processed food and try to have home cooked food for all your meals. Homemade food can be stored in the refrigerator. And if you are a tea or coffee addict, try to limit your intake. Too much caffeine in your system will dehydrate the body and you can feel nauseated, bloated or have headaches.
Another common mistake that you can fall prey to is gulping down glasses of sugary juices and cold drinks. These are filled with empty calories and might offer temporary relief. But, in the long run, excessive sugar is going to sap your energy levels. Therefore, choose natural drinks such as coconut water, lime juice or fresh fruit juices without sugar.
Keep a check on your protein intake. Avoid high-fat red meats as much as possible. But, make sure that you include fish, eggs and chicken in your diet. A lot of people have a misconception that these foods can heat up the body. However, it is not true. The lean protein helps to build muscles and keeps your body in shape. It also provides much-needed energy.
Inculcating a few healthy eating habits and making some lifestyle changes can go a long way in keeping your body fit and active. Therefore, eat healthy to beat the heat this summer.
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