Summer is finally here with a vengeance and with it comes the usual problems dehydration, heatstroke and a feeling of lethargy. But life goes on and one needs to cope with the heat especially when we live in a country which has almost nine summer months. The best way to beat the heat is to eat cool foods. And what are cool foods and how does it help? According to Ishi Khosla, nutritionist and dietician, "In science of nutrition, there is no concept of hot or cool foods. In a general sense, cool foods are those which have high water content and are easy to digest. They help us to re-hydrate and replenish electrolytes."
Water is a key ingredient in keeping the body cool. With the body sweating in order to keep itself cool, you need to hydrate your body even when you are not thirsty. Increase the intake of water regardless of your activity level. Instead of carbonated drinks have coconut water, buttermilk, panna (made from raw mango, sugar, a little salt and mint leaves), have sherbets like khus, gulab and phaalsa. Believe it or khus and gulab sherbets have ingredients that will not only keep you cool for long, but it also energises you.
"Pure water is the best drink," says Khosla. "Our body cannot store water, so one must drink plenty of it to replenish losses due to dehydration, excessive perspiration or strenuous exercise during elevated temperatures and maintain healthy function of body cells," added Khosla. Sattu (roasted and grounded barley or gram) is another effective way to keep your body cool. It can be stuffed in a parantha (as done in states like Bihar, Gujarat) or can be made into a drink - just add cool water and sugar to the powder, mix well and drink it. Put Tulsi seeds in your drinks, it has a cooling effect on the body.
Avoid eating foods that have too many spices or is fried. Instead have lots of fruits and vegetables in the form of salads and fresh juices. Summer is season for mangoes soak them in water overnight to take the heat out of them before eating them. As you tend to lose your appetite try experimenting with the recipes. Make different kinds of raitas, fruit shakes, salads and cold soups. People down South have their own foods that help them beat the heat. Instead of the usual rasam (dal water with lots of spices), they have sweet rasam (it has no species, just lots of veggies). Curd rice, buttermilk with rice rajma soup and raagi soup are some of the other foods that keep the heat at bay.
According to Khosla a few precautions/tips to keep in mind this summer are:
Keep raw foods like meat etc separated from fruits and veggies
Avoid opening the fridge often
Wash your hands before handling food
Avoid eating street food
Drink boiled water (boil it for at least 20 minutes)
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