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Is your kitchen ready for the summer??

on May 2, 2014

Is your kitchen ready for the summer??
Summer is almost reaching its peak here in India. It is the hottest time of the year in most of the parts( some lucky hilly regions are excluded from the list)of this tropical country. Scorching sun, hot winds, heat, sweat, thirst, loss of appetite are some of the salient features of this season. With so many changes in weather and in-turn in our body, summer calls or rather demands for a change in the diet.
download (10)Challenges For Our Body
Health-wise, this is a very demanding season. The rising heat affects almost all the parts of our body as our body tries to maintain its normal temperature. However, from diet point’s of view, following are the major challenges that our body has to face.

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  1. Dehydration- With the rising mercury level, our body temperature also rises. Our body tries to maintain the normal temperature by producing sweat. Sweat when evaporates, cools our body. However, in doing so our body looses its precious store of water and electrolytes. If our body continues to loose water and electrolytes through sweat and urination, its equilibrium will be disturbed. This may also lead to dehydration. If left untreated, it can cause stroke and coma. So we need to replenish our body with its depleted water and electrolytes stores.
  2. Irritation, tiredness, weakness, susceptibility to infections- During the summer season, body’s main focus is on temperature control through perspiration. For this, a good blood circulation is required & hence major blood flow is diverted for this purpose. If our body do not have a continuous supply of water & electrolytes, other body parts will get lesser blood supply than they usually get. Because of this symptoms like tiredness, weakness may occur. This puts a stress on body’s defense system & body becomes vulnerable for bacterial & viral infections which thrive in this season.
  3. Gastrointestinal problems- Body’s attempts to maintain its normal temperature puts a burden on its gastrointestinal system which becomes prone to other diseases. If we further put a load on it by having heavy, oily, spicy meals , it may cause indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea which will further worsen dehydration. Unhygienic food may cause food poisoning.

Get ready for the summer..

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As the heat reaches its peak, we start looking for our sleeveless tops, cotton pants, hot pants etc. We start planning about what should be our skin care routine, how we should do our make-up, which sunscreen should we use. Like all these plannings, it is also important to have a good nutrition planning for the summer so that our health is not affected because of the heat. Following are points that will help you to prepare yourself for this season.

 

What we should avoid??
We should avoid all those food habits or food items which will put an additional pressure on our body’s systems which already has handful of work to do.
Avoid eating fried, fatty food like pakodas, samosas, pizzas, sweets, wadapav etc.
Avoid having carbonated beverages. Although, initially they quench our thirst, later on they lead to more water loss through urination. Also they require more water for its metabolism so you will feel more thirsty afterwards.
Avoid eating large meals. People often complain of loss of appetite during this season. But sometimes they do not realize that 1 pizza or burger or saomos, has far more calories than 2 rotis. So they land up eating more than their usual meals.
Avoid eating ice creams or too cold drinks.
What we should have??
Thanks to the wonderful nature who has plenty of options to nurture us during this season. We need to eat those items which will not only replenish the lost water level but also the electrolytes that we loose through sweat and urination. Fruits and vegetables are thus ideal to beat the heat due to their high vitamin & mineral content. Seasonal fruits and vegetables like mango, melons, kokum, gourd vegetables should be high on our list. We should enjoy these seasonal delights to get the maximum health benefits from them.
Summer Food collection

  • Watermelon- 

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Watermelons are a must for the summer season due its various health benefits. Watermelon has around 92-95%(depending upon type) of water and a good source of minerals sufficient to quench the thirst. It also has an amino acid called citrulline which is converted to arginine, an essential amino acid which relaxes the muscles & and improves the blood circulation. Adequate blood flow is necessary for better sweat production. Though sweating is not that pleasant experience it maintains our body temperature. It is like removing the heat from our body. Watermelon also has anti-inflammatory properties which helps our body to fight infections.

  • Muskmelon-

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Like its brother watermelon, it too has good amount of water (almost equal) and Vitamins like Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, E, K,A, C.
Minerals provided by this fruit are Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, potassium, Zinc. Important factor present in musk melon which is known as Zea-xanthin gives protection against UV rays which aids in protecting your eye and skin. If you are worried about the calories, musk melon is a fruit for you as it is low in calories & high in fiber.

  • Mango- 

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It is the king of fruits & why not it is a fruit packed with plenty of nutrients. It is extremely rich in minerals, antioxidants, vitamins A, C & enzymes. This is helpful to keep our body’s immune system healthy & strong. Tartaric acid, malic acid, and traces of citric acid found in mangoes help to maintain the alkalinity of the body. Enzymes in the fruit help in digestion. The fiber too helps in digestion and elimination. The raw mango acts as a coolant in summers. Juice of the green mango helps cool down the body and prevents sun stroke. Mango is rich in Vitamin B-6 which is essential for Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA) hormone production. GABA is an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, inhibiting nerve transmission in the brain, thus causing a calming effect.

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  • Palmyra Fruit or Sugar Palm Fruit or Ice Apple

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It is a natural coolant for the body as it contains almost 92% water. It is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. It improves appetite. It is used in the treatment of nausea & vomiting & also worm infestation.

  • Coconut water

This naturally refreshing & sterile( contains no microorganisms thus reducing the chances of food contamination related diseases.) drink is a must in summer as it has good amount of electrolytes & is nutritionally a far better drink than any commercial drinks available in the market.

  • Kokum

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Kokum or Garcinia Indica is a fruit which is famous for its healthy and refreshing cool drink. It is very popular in Maharashtra & Kerala regions of India.
Kokum juice is not only delicious but it also has several health benefits. It is a rich source of powerful anti-oxidant vitamin C in the form of citric acid, malic acid, acetic acid, ascorbic acid, hydro citric acid and hydroxycitric acid.
Garcinol is the major active ingredient of Kokum and it has antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. It does not contain cholesterol or saturated fats.
Fresh Kokum fruit highly contains B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folates and thiamin which are co-factors of many biochemical reactions.
It is delicious and has a cooling effect on the body. It is very refreshing drink. It not only quenches your thirst, but also helps to prevents dehydration and sunstroke due to heat. Kokum juice improves the digestion and appetite. It is also used to treat piles and dysentery. It promotes cell regeneration and repair. It helps to reduce fever and allergic reactions.It can relieve you from gastric problems like acidity, flatulence, constipation and indigestion.

  • Gulkand

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Gulkand is made from the rose petals which has cooling effect on the body. It is not unfamiliar to Indian homes. It is beneficial in alleviating all heat related problems like tiredness, lethargy, itching, aches and pains, reduces burning sensations in the soles and palms.
It treats mouth ulcers, makes teeth and gums strong and also reduces redness and inflammation of the eyes.
It improves appetite and digestion.
It is an excellent tonic, reduces stress, strengthens the heart, liver and central nervous system.
Gulkand reduces acidity and reduces heat in the stomach, treats ulcers and swelling in the intestine.
It protects us from sunstroke, controls nose bleed in summer.
Normal dose of gulkand is 1 tsp 2 times a day, morning and evening.
Gulkand can be taken on its own or added to milk, lassi or juices.

  • Tomato & Cucumber

Tomato enters this list due to its antioxidant properties owing to different phytonutrients & its water content which is around 94%.
Cucumber also has around 96% water just like melon brothers. It is a natural diuretic which removes toxins from the body. The fiber in it helps in digestion.

  • Vegetables with high water content

If we choose those vegetables which have naturally more water, it helps our body in hydration.
All the vegetables in gourd family eg. Ash gourd, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, ridge gourd , contain around 96% water so are ideal choices for summer.
Other vegetables which has substantial amount of water are pumpkin(92.6%), parwar(92%), Knol khol(92.7%), French beans (91%), radish white & red(94%), spinach (92%),lettuce (90%), cabbage(91.9%), amaranth(90%).
If you have any health complications like diabetes, kidney problems, check with your dietitian before incorporating any new food into your diet.

Along-with all these items, it is also important to have plenty of water in summer. Water acts as clutch, the summer-friendly food acts as an accelerators and breaks are fried, fatty items & carbonated beverages. If you want to run your engine( body) smoothly in summer, you need to have a functional clutch( sufficient amount of water) & accelerators( sufficient amount of summer-friendly food) & you need to put a break on unhealthy food & habits.

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Have a healthy & joyful summer.

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2 responses to “Is your kitchen ready for the summer??

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is very helpful information.

    Like

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