As the blistering June Sun is beating down, it’s time to establish a diet that includes foods that will keep your body temperature down. Hey, don’t just think of the foods that you extract from the cool recesses of your refrigerator – your favourite aerated drink or that pint of lager, but think beyond, because there are foods that themselves act as cooling agents. And believe it or not, Indian food rituals have traditionally been prepared for this. So you need not look any further than your kitchen.
While only the thought of pouring some chilled Cola down your throat on a hot summer day can bring you chills, let us get our facts clear. It’s a myth that Cola quenches your thirst. Though it does help for a moment, within minutes, you will feel thirstier than you were before. This is because Cola is a caffeinated drink, and caffeine has a drying effect on your body; plus, it is zero in nutrition, zilch.
So if not Cola or just any other soda, what you ought to reach for is Nariyal Pani, the cheap, undisputed health drink that is sold at every street corner. The list of health-boosting properties of Coconut water is a never-ending one – it is an oral rehydration medium; keeps the body cool; if dabbed on the skin, it prevents prickly heat and boils; kills intestinal worms; and prevents kidney and urethral stones. With it’s mouth-watering white part, the copra, it can serve as a small meal and not just a cooling drink.
Coconut is not the only ally in your fight against the crippling heat, there are other foods that can guard your health this season: watermelon, aam panna, khus sherbet, nimboo pani, green tea, grape juice and even onions. Yes, you read that right; onions are known to prevent heatstroke.
Hot Tips for the Hot Season
- See your stomach space in three parts: one part solid, one part fluid, one part empty and eat accordingly. This will keep your metabolism in control.
- To get rid of the bloatiness, soak some fenugreek (methi) seeds overnight and drink in the morning. It certainly will be nasty for your taste buds, but it works.
- Don’t skip meals, especially your breakfast. Drink small glasses of juice through day. Have your lunch as close to noon as possible.
- Keep your dinner light; make a soup, some sprouts and a salad, or roti or some rice with a light sabzi.
- Don’t head out in the sun on an empty stomach. Mango can help reduce photosensitivity.
- If you don’t have much time on your sleeves to plan your meal, toss some fruits and curd into a blender and make a smoothie.
- Aloe Vera is a known herbal medicine. Extract its juice from the gel to drink and its leaves can be used to heal sunburn.
- Avoid red meats in summer. They make the body temperature rise, which may hamper with your digestion in the warm weather.
- Stick to stir – fry dishes throughout summer. Deep-fried foods irritate the system already coping with the heat.
- Try having a glass of green tea through your day. It is rich in antioxidants and is known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Things to Avoid
- Resist the impulse to top up your drinks with ice. The ice will only cool you down temporarily but over time, you may find your tolerance for heat getting lesser and besides, ice-cold foods and beverages disrupt your digestive power.
- Avoid drinking any soda or preserved juices. The synthetic, preservatives and sugars in these processed drinks do nothing good to your body. On consumption, your body begins to work harder to digest these and your metabolism is thrown out of whack, which can result in unwanted weight gain, loose bowels, aggressive behaviour, skin eruptions and heartburn.
- Limit your caffeine consumption. The caffeine present in coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks and chocolates, when consssumed largely can dehydrate you and can even cause general toxicity, palpitation, high blood pressure and decreased bone density.
So folks, drink tons of water and keep your body and soul hydrated.
Stay healthy and refreshed this summer!