What to Eat: Diet in Summers

Health is a precarious issue in summers. The enervating climate, the heat and the season takes a toll on our healths. An ideal diet and a perfect exercise regimen can however rescue us from the troubles we may face during the season. Nutrition expert Sandhya Gugani in an exclusive chat with Smita Mishra speaks about the tips one should follow to maintain a perfect health in summers.

What should be the diet regimen to be followed in summers?

Summer diet should be different from winter diet. The summer takes away all moisture from our body, therefore care should be taken to include those foods in our diets that contain lots of water.

Summer foods should be essentially light to digest as our body produces enough heat during summers to digest the food. Legumes, wheat, barley are some summer foods to be included in daily diet.

The best summer diet solution would be to include large variety of fruits mainly citrus fruits & vegetables & salads in diet. Onions & lemon are a boon during summer season.

Can you name some foods that have a cooling effect on body?

Summer foods are essentially rich in water content. You may include citrus fruits like lime, orange, sweet lime, pineapple, water melon, musk melon etc.
Among vegetables include the cool cucumber, tomato, onion, lettuce, cabbage etc.

You require to include rice, legumes, wheat & avoid meat & poultry. You can rather opt for sea foods which are suppose to be cooler.

What food items should be avoided?

Some foods have a warming effect on the body whereas some have a cooling effect therefore one must see the water content of foods before consuming.

All heavy, fried & fatty foods are to be avoided as they are difficult to digest.
Avoid meat, poultry, nuts & seeds. Also avoid foods like garlic, clove, mustard & coffee.

To prevent dehydration what should be the ideal drink and in what quantity should it be taken?

It is important to keep your self well hydrated during summers. Take plenty of fluids like fresh citrus fruit juices, lemon water, coconut water, khus sherbet, Aam panna, Thandai, ice tea, smoothie, butter milk & vegetable juices like cucumber & carrot juices.

Is it true that caffeinated and sugary drinks are harmful during summers?

The sugary & caffeinated drinks are harmful during summers as they worsen the effects of dehydration. So it is advisable to stay away from them.

What is the ideal temperature at which liquids should be consumed?
Ice is used in large quantity during summer. While giving a temporary cooling to body, it weakens the teeth at their roots, at the same time; disturbing digestion.
Ice water should be replaced with comparatively cold water. Water can be made tasty by adding such fragrant substances like 'khas', 'sandal', 'camphor' or 'rose'.

In summer, Ice creams and cold drinks should be consumed minimum as they result in throat problems that could make the body vulnerable to some other diseases.

Is it true that strenuous exercise should be avoided in summers?

Summer is the time when we spend much more time outdoors which by itself can be considered a moderate exercise routine. But don’t count on it, and do some physical activities which can turn into a healthy habit. When you exercise more, you need extra protein. A healthy source of protein with cooling effect on the body is:
beans, grains such as rice, barley, millet, tofu, soy milk, fish & plenty of fluids to maintain electrolyte balance.

What should be the ideal diet for those suffering from heat stroke?

Drink plenty of water, stay away from the sun, and avoid taxing activity during hot weather conditions.

If you start experiencing the warning signs, shift to a cool, sheltered area and gulp something cool. Water containing electrolyte, juices and glucose should be given to the patient to maintain electrolyte balance.

Besides this, give to the patient plenty of fruits & vegetables. Good protein intake like legumes, beans, tofu, low fat milk & milk products is also important. It is also known that Peppermint oil mixed mwith water is another great remedy for heatstroke.

Can you suggest a simple diet chart to be followed during this season?

An ideal summer diet would be as follows:

Two glasses of water, followed by a cup of tea & 2 marie lite biscuits on rising.

Wheatflakes with unsweetened soymilk and fruit for breakfast.

Fresh lime juice or tender coconut water as mid-morning drink.

Brown rice with rasam, vegetable curry, curd and sprouts and greens salad for lunch.


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