Now that Mr.Summer is here and is raging its heat on us mortals, making us lose more nutrients and electrolytes, our body’s nutritional requirements change. We need to keep ourselves well hydrated at all times. We need to consume those foods that are high in water content , more of vitamins & minerals & are easy to digest & will keep us energetic.
If you are like most people, you may have noticed that appetite tends to decrease naturally and you may want to consume more liquids. However, DO NOT fall for convenience foods or beverages and end up compromising your health.
Coke, Pepsi, other fizzy drinks or Fruit concentrates, “fruit” based crushes/squashes do more harm than good to the body. They are laced with sugar and synthetic preservatives some of which are known carcinogens (cancer-causing). Excess sugar consumption is leading cause of majority of chronic diseases including diabetes & Cancer .
Nature has blessed us with plenty of fresh, juicy treats during this season. Let us look at some simple yet tasty treats we can include in our diet to beat the scorching heat.
Watermelon : A bowl of chilled, sweet, delicious watermelon on a hot su
mmer day = Bliss!!! With water-content as high as 92%, watermelon is one of the most hydrating of all fruits. It’s rich in vitamins A, B6 and C; contains lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. It also contains a small amount of potassium. It’s a highly alkaline, anti-ageing & anti-inflammatory fruit. Serve chilled or juice it up. Moreover, 1 bowl (250 gms) will give you only 40 Kcals (calories)! Enjoy!!
Cucumber : It is the most hydrating, alkalizing & anti-ageing salad vegetable you can consume. Eat a cucumber or two daily , along with a balanced diet & watch how your skin glows in a month’s time! Add grated Cucumber to your bowl of curd, add rock salt & seasonings of your choice and enjoy! 100 gms of Cucumber gives 13 Kcals only!
Mangoes : Mangoes are loaded with Vitamin-A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and β-cryptoxanthin. 100 g of fresh fruit provides 25% of recommended daily levels of vitamin-A. The fruit is perfect for satisfying one’s sweet-tooth. Fresh mango is also a good source of potassium, which is required to maintain the electrolyte balance in the body. It is an ideal pre-workout & post-workout source of carbohydrate. 100 g fruit provides 156 mg of potassium & contains 65 Kcals
Coconut Water : Nature’s own soft drink! Coconut water is excellent for restoring fluid & electrolyte balance during summer season. It contains Sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium which are all electrolytes. The water of a single coconut has sufficient Vitamin C to meet the daily requirements of the body. 1 Coconut yield (200 ml) gives 49 Kcals
Pineapple : This fruit is rich in nutrients which help hydrate and restore the body’s electrolyte balance and helps prevent dehydration. Pineapple is 86% water! It provides Vitamins and minerals, including copper, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, vitamin C, thiamin, B6, beta-carotene, and folate as well as soluble and insoluble fiber and bromelaine. 100 gms of Pineapple gives 46 Kcals.
Musk Melons : This is yet another very hydrating fruit. It’s an excellent Skin & Hair food. It is also known for anti-oxidants, vitamin A & C. All these facilitate glowing skin. Besides, Musk melons also replenish the fluid and electrolytes balance in the body! 100 gms gives just 17 Kcals! Aur kya chahiye ???
Jaljeera : Mint is one of the most refreshing herbs one can consume. Chilled Jaljeera made of fresh mint leaves , tamarind pulp ,rock salt & jeera powder, is a cooling, refreshing treat to the senses. 250 ml would give 50 to 60 Kcals
Note : It should be made of FRESH Mint leaves and NOT of the commercially available jaljeera powder (This one really bugs me!)
Curd/Buttermilk : Curd is known for its cooling properties. It is rich in Calcium & Riboflavin. It is easy on the digestion as well. Have curd made out of cow’s milk as it is low in fats and far more nutritious. A glass of chilled buttermilk makes for a good mid-morning meal or post lunch beverage. 100 gms has 60 Kcals
Palmyra fruit (Tadgola) : This one is a juicy treat & a natural coolant for the body! Buy the tender, juicier version of this fruit. Excellent for rehydrating yourself in the summers, this fruit helps replenish the nutrients lost due to the intense heat. is. The fruit contains vitamin A, B and C.It is rich in minerals such as Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus and Zinc are found in the fruit. Only 29 Kcals in 100 gms.
Litchis : These will arrive much later! But I must say,I can hardly for Litchis. Mainly due to the sweet, juicy taste of it! The phytonutrients in Litchis neutralize the free radical damage and protects the body from premature ageing, cancer , heart disease etc. Litchis are a storehouse of potassium as well, meaning that it helps maintain the fluid balance during summers. 8 Litchis give only 50 Kcals.
Lemon water : Now, we can’t talk about summer foods without talking about Lemons! Lemons are a rich source of Vitamin C. They are excellent for detoxification of the body. After a junk meal or outside food, lemon shots are the best way to neutralize acidity and to ease digestion. In the summers, simply add the juice of half a lemon to a glass of chilled water, add ice cubes and enjoy! If you prefer sweet, a bit of Honey or Raw Sugar can be added too. Another option is to make infused water with lemons, mint, cucumber , ginger etc. Juice of 1 large lemon gives 11 Kcals.
Important Note : DO NOT opt for the powdered , tinned, canned, packaged or processed denatured, inferior versions of any of these natural treats! Those are “products” and not food. They do not serve ANY nutritional purpose and are more harmful than you think! Be wise, eat & drink natural foods & beverages.
Serving Tip : All the above foods will taste better and more refreshing when served chilled.
Additional Summer Tips :
- Hydrate yourself well by drinking sufficient water, infused water and liquids.
- Eat more of fruits & vegetable salads
- Minimize Caffeine (Tea & Coffee) intake as it is dehydrating for the body.
- Avoid Alcohol intake. It has the most dehydrating effect on the body, as well as causes lot of nutrient loss.
- Avoid overly spicy or junk foods & processed/packaged foods.
- As far as possible, avoid going out in the sun between 11 am to 4 pm. Apply sunscreen & carry your sunglasses and an umbrella if its unavoidable.