Summer diet: Beating the heat and keeping yourself hydrated

Summer diet: Beating the heat and keeping yourself hydrated

While the heat of summer looms over our heads, it’s important to not let your diet, fitness, or mental health get pushed to the back burner on account of soaring temperatures. A hydrating, nutritious, balanced diet in summer can keep you healthy, even in the blazing heat.

Remember to consume food and drinks that are hydrating, electrolyte-rich, and cooling for the digestive system. Curd, onions, mint, watermelon, cucumber and coconut water are some of the best options when it comes to summer foods.

Nutritionists recommend enjoying fruit-infused water during the summer months. To prepare, simply cut up fruits you enjoy such as oranges, strawberries, papaya, watermelon, apple or pears into cubes or slices and mix it in two liters of chilled water. Over time, the fruit infuses its flavor into the water and you can enjoy this healthy, flavored water with added nutritional benefits.

We tend to use air conditioning more often this time of year, but it is important to remember that it strips the air of all its humidity and water content. Be sure to keep a water bottle or jug near you to stay hydrated and drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up in the morning. Alternatively, you can use a humidifier to ensure higher moisture content in the room.

Here are more general diet tips that everyone should be aware of when the temperatures are high:

  • Make it a point to keep yourself well-hydrated as loss of water can cause dehydration and increase your blood sugar levels. This is especially true for those who have diabetes.
  • Drink enough water and consume fresh fruit juices, lemon water, and coconut water during peak daily temps.
  • Consume water-rich foods like watermelon, cucumber, grapefruit, tomatoes, cherries, and green leafy vegetables.
  • Enjoy body-cooling foods such as curds, yogurt, and corn.
  • Consume foods with high fiber content (whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables) to increase digestion time and absorption of sugar in the blood.
  • Eat non-starchy foods, vegetables, and milk products with a low glycemic index.
  • If you eat meat, choose low-fat versions (like chicken breast) in the summer. High fat content takes longer for your body to digest and carries a higher salt content, which can add extra strain on your body when you need it maximized for efficiency. Consuming too much salt also increases your risk for dehydration.
  • Consume cholesterol-busting fruits like apricots, raspberries, avocados, and vegetables like asparagus and fennel.
  • Cook your food in olive oil which has a high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids known to lower bad LDL cholesterol. Put less oil in your foods and ensure that you consume lighter portions.
  • Try to reduce your consumption of fried, oily or processed or street-side fast foods.
  • Popular in warm climates, the tingling feeling and accompanying sweat caused by eating spicy foods has a purpose: The sweat actually cools your body down.
  • Reduce your consumption of alcohol, caffeinated beverages, or sugary drinks as they can make you feel dehydrated.
  • Eat more, smaller meals that will make your stomach feel lighter and keep your system active.
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