While gearing up for the rise in mercury levels this summer, let us focus on the right foods that will keep us hydrated and healthy.
With the temperature rises, we instantly reach out for aerated drinks, ice cubes and the remote to the air conditioner. But, the quick relief can lead rather quickly to the opposite of what we intended!
Anything lower than your actual body temperature produces a cooling effect – only initially. Then, after 20 minutes, the opposite happens. Drinking very cold liquids may lead to constriction of the blood vessels and decreased heat loss from the body, which is bad when trying to cool down.
So, stock up that refrigerator and kitchen with the right foods that will actually help us to cool down.
WHAT TO DRINK
Drinking coconut water, sugarcane juice and eating curd is highly recommended during summers.
Intestinal infections such as cholera, typhoid, amoebiasis find it easy to surface during a warm climate. Eating curd helps increase the friendly bacteria in the intestines. These bacteria promote digestion and boost immunity.
Kombucha also works as an excellent probiotic and helps with a healthy gut.
Coconut water is packed with electrolytes and minerals that replenish hydration levels. Due to sweating, water and many essential minerals are lost from the body, which makes one feel tired and sluggish.
Sugarcane juice comes in handy for those who exercise or workout during summer. Containing natural sugars, it cools down and energises the body.
I cannot forget to recommend my favourite summer drink, cashew neero. It is rich in minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, sodium, iron and zinc and also works as a probiotic.
One can also consume watermelon and muskmelon, which have a high water content.
Heavy, oil-based foods are not water rich. When your body is losing plenty of water already, digestion of heavy foods depletes the levels of water even further. The result is fatigue, poor concentration, light headedness and decreased metabolism.
Consume doodhi/ pumpkin as they are full of fibre and easy to digest.
Other water-rich veggies that can be included in your diet include spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and mushroom.
Sabja seeds (tukmaria) also provide relief from the scorching heat of summers. They can be part of a variety of drinks like lemonades, coconut water, yoghurt etc.
Cumin seeds (jeera) and fennel seeds (badishep) also help us stay hydrated and prevent bloating.
Although adequate protein is crucial for a healthy diet, a high-protein diet is not recommended during the summer as it increases water absorption and can lead to dehydration.
And last, but not least, drink at least 2 litres of water daily.
Stay safe, cool and hydrated, this summer in Goa.
The writer is a Clinical Dietician & Obesity Consultant, based in Panjim, Goa