Beat the Summer Heat!

Afshan Hussain Ali, MSc, RDN, CDE

Though summer may bring to mind picnics and chips and delicious chocolate desserts, dietitians believe that it is easiest to ‘eat healthy’ during this time.
With a healthy meal and proper exercise routine, you are sure to shed all the unwanted weight you carry around. Following are the few points to remember during summers-

  • Drink water to quench your thirst:
    We tend to consume more aerated drinks during the summer, but water is a smarter choice. It keeps the body cool and prevents dehydration and it additionally helps you avoid adding on the unwanted calories. Fresh lime water and coconut water is also a great thirst-quencher, especially during the summer.
  • Add a minimum of 2 servings each of fruits and vegetables to your daily to your diet: Summer has a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables so try to eat the most of them. Fruit smoothies and milkshakes are easy to make, just cut some fruits, add milk and mix in your blender to have yourself a healthy and filling drink. Pan-roasted fresh vegetables or innovative salads are also a tasty option.
  • Don’t skip meals: Many people drastically lose weight by cutting down on meals, but this is very unhealthy and almost always backfires. Skipping meals also slows down the metabolism, which means the body burns fewer calories. Eat small, but frequent meals.
  • Curd/Yoghurt: Include at least some form of curd or yoghurt in your meals. Buttermilk is a known cooler. Besides, tasting delicious, it has several health benefits too. Add a dash of mint and cumin powder to enhance the taste. Mint has its own benefits too. Having a glass of buttermilk or chaas just before stepping out in the sun, helps avoid dehydration.

Summer may be an excellent time for us to get into the process of detox as when it is warm, it is easier for our body to be in a detox process naturally.

What you eat on daily basis matters, as habits add up and the bad ones take a toll on your health. So, if you want a quick way to ramp up your energy, clear your mind, and lighten the toxic load on your body, food-based detox can make a big difference on how you look and feel. It’s time to flush out the toxins from our bodies and get rid of the excessive chemicals, sugar, processed foods and alcohol too.

The liver produces its own antioxidants, but it also needs other antioxidants from food sources in order to remain healthy. So, eat foods that support the liver and the digestive system. Increasing antioxidant-rich foods can also help counter the free radicals in the body. Mentioned below are four wonder foods, which help to clean out our bodies and make us feel healthy, light & refreshed.

  1. Watermelon:

It is the number one food for a summer detox. It is extremely alkaline-forming in the body and contains high amounts of citrulline. This helps to create arginine, which removes ammonia and other toxins from the body. Also, watermelon is a good source of potassium, which balances the high amounts of sodium in our diets, which supports your kidneys and is great when cleansing.

2. Cucumbers:

Cucumbers are great as in sandwiches or when eaten raw. Cucumbers help flush toxins from the body. The high water content in cucumbers benefits your urinary system. A half-cup of sliced cucumber has hardly around 8 calories.

3. Lemon

Squeeze some lemon in your drink for a bout of freshness.  Your liver loves lemons. The lemon is a marvelous liver stimulant and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons. It alkalizes the body and hence helps restore balance to the body’s pH.

4. Mint

Think mint, think coolness! Mint leaves are great for summer cooling. It helps you digest your food more effectively and improves the flow of bile from the liver, to the gallbladder, to the small intestine, where it breaks down dietary fats.

So, remember melons and lemons when garnished with mint leaves are one of the best foods to beat the summer heat!

Afshan Hussain Ali, is a RDN and certified diabetes educator who lives in Nagpur, Maharashtra India

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