The days are longer, nights are shorter, stepping out in the sun is a chore and the air conditioner is your best friend! Summers have arrived and how! The sweltering heat makes it necessary for us to take good care of our bodies and the best way to do that is to follow the right diet. A few changes in your lifestyle and the way you treat your food will make you breeze through the summer.
What to Eat
First and foremost, stay hydrated; which means you should be drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. While the best option is of course water, you can also have cooling drinks like buttermilk, fresh fruit juices, tender coconut water, lemonade and cold soups. If you are diabetic, please avoid drinking fruit juices in excess as it can raise your blood sugar levels.
Fruits like watermelon, musk melon, lemon, sweet limes, grape fruit, orange; vegetables like cucumber, radish, bitter gourd, pumpkin and bottle gourd, herbs like fresh mint and coriander leaves are also good to have during the hot summer months. These stay fresh during the hot season and are good for the body because of their high water content. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables also helps in maintaining skin health as they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
What not to eat
During summers, fried foods and refined products are not recommended as they only add to the body weight, which in turn can affect normal functioning of the body as well as the skin. Aerated drinks and those with high caffeine content should be avoided, as caffeine dehydrates your body. It is advisable to avoid spicy food and meat products during summers as these are considered ‘heaty foods’.
During summer, dairy products, meat products, vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, leafy vegetables and fruits like bananas, strawberries, grapes, melons, etc. get spoilt very easily because of the water content present in them. On the other hand, dry food items like uncooked dals (pulses), legumes, rice, vegetables like garlic, onion, yams and deep-fried food items like farsaans and namkeens, etc. can stay fresh. Therefore, what I would suggest is to consume food as fresh as possible. Also, the perfect way to avoid spoilage of food in summers is to cook in smaller quantities.
It will be unfair if we talk about summer food without discussing the dazzling mango. Mangoes are enjoyed, whether it is green or ripe. There is a hardly a person who dislikes the ‘king of fruits’. They are a rich source of vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. They help in lowering blood pressure as they are rich in potassium. However, people who are diabetic should consult their dietitian as mangoes can shoot up sugar levels. So, one mango a day during summer, can be included in the diet to enjoy its health benefits.
Besides mangoes, other seasonal fruits like watermelon, jamuns, musk melons and oranges are also great options to beat the heat during summers! They all have their own qualities and when had in the right way, will only benefit the body. Consuming them is the easiest way, during summers, to make you feel fresh and energized in no time! Fruits are best eaten when they are available fresh, sans storage. So go ahead and relish the freshest summer produce, but in moderation!
Have a superb summer!