Recent summers have all been awfully warm. And this year, with mercury soaring to record heights in April itself, May, June, and July are set to be hotter than ever.
Yes, when we get too hot or too thirsty, we become irritable, impatient and careless – but that’s just on the outside. Our insides too, are put through massive wear and tear, which can result in long-term damage. That’s why it makes absolute sense to overhaul our diets ASAP to combat this heat wave effectively.
Try these tips:
A Raw Onion With Your Lunch
It pays to listen to age old counsel. Marwari cuisine experts trust onions for their heat busting properties. That’s because their tears-inducing properties notwithstanding, onions are an excellent coolant. Add a raw onion to your meal on a hot summer day to protect yourself from a heat stroke.
(Just remember to keep some mints close at hand!)
A Cooling Gulkand Milkshake
Root for gulkand (made from the extract of rose petals) as it has amazing cooling properties! Try this super relish banana gulkand milkshake:
Blend 1 banana, 1 tbsp gulkand, 1 tsp sugar and 2 cups milk to a smooth puree. Top with ice cubes and sip chilled.
Fresh Coconut Water
Drink a lot of fresh coconut water. It has mono-saccharine, carbohydrates, simple sugar with essential minerals which keeps the body hydrated this season.
The Water in Which Green Moong Dal is Soaked
Green moong dal is a perfect summer food too. The fever and thirst-reducing properties of this tiny legume are widely known. Drinking the water in which green moong dal has been soaked overnight is also a cooling masterstroke.
This Basil Seed Recipe to Cure Constipation
Basil seeds (known as sabja seeds) are also an excellent body coolant and also a natural laxative which helps to cure constipation that is caused by excess body heat during summer. Try this lemonade:
In a small bowl, place 1 tbsp basil (sabja) seeds, pour 1/2 cup of water and let it stand for 10-15 minutes. The seeds will absorb the water and become big in size while forming a white jelly-like cocoon around it. Now, cut 2 lemons and squeeze the juice in a pitcher. Add a pinch of salt, 1 tbsp honey, soaked basil seeds, chilled water, mix well and drink.
Some Delicious Mediterranean Cold Soup...
Include at least TWO quercetin rich foods daily. Cucumbers, onions, apples, leafy greens, berries, tomatoes, cabbage, sprouts and citrus fruits have plenty of quercetin – a pigment that helps to "cool" the inflammatory response in your body that summer time throws at us in plenty.
Need ideas to incorporate them? Try a nice cup of Gazpacho. This Mediterranean cold soup is delicious and refreshing – a perfect summertime meal served with bread.
Put 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 onion, 1/2 deseeded and chopped capsicum, 3 cups of pureed tomato, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp white wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Chill in the fridge.
Or, enjoy a classic Italian salad – sliced onions, berries, oranges, tomatoes and shredded cheese tossed with a little olive oil.
...And Puréed Watermelon Snacks
Finally, also eat a lot of the king of the summer: watermelon. Although plain water and other beverages meet a significant amount of fluid requirements, watermelon is a perfect add-on too. It is 92 percent water by weight, the highest percentage of any fruit, so a perfect solution to give dehydration and related summer problems a miss. Here’s a watermelon recipe to try:
Purée the watermelon. Swirl in a little plain yoghurt and serve as refreshing cold soup. Mix with thinly sliced red onion, salt and black pepper; it makes a great summer salad. OR, puree watermelon chunks, then freeze this juice into colourful and tasty “pops” – you’ll love this cooling snack.
(Kavita Devgan is a weight management consultant, nutritionist, health columnist and author of ‘Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People’.)