Foods to beat the summer
General Nutrition • • 1 minute to read • By Praveena Kuchipudi, INFS Faculty
Author: Praveena Kuchipudi
Summer is the most favorite time of the year when people go out and involve in many activities such as plan outings, hiking, soak in the sun, and plan most of the travels. It is the most convenient time to plan a lot of activities, but it is also time to take care of the body because of the high-temperature and scorching heat.
Heat is a stressor to the body and upon excessive exposure, in particular during summers, it will affect the body mainly with the process called dehydration. Dehydration is the most common symptom during the summer. Water in the bodily tissues is lost along with the vitamins and minerals (electrolytes). To cope with the extreme hot temperature and heat waves, the body needs to be replenished with proper nutrients with consumption of specific foods in more amounts.
As we know, dehydration can be managed by intake of more water, other issues like indigestion, not being able to consume food properly, irritability due to high temperatures, lack of energy, skin rashes or burns, headaches, poor concentration and so on can also affect the person in day-to-day functions.
Consumption of foods that have good nutrients and water content can be used to manage the symptoms due to heat and heat strokes.
Foods that can help in summers
Though, we always prioritize on the adequate intake of foods from all food groups, with the hot climate it would be difficult to ingest all the food because of the aforementioned symptoms. Let’s look at what kind of foods can be consumed and what to be avoided to ease the effect of scorching heat.
Food to be included in higher quantities,
- Water more than adequate to replenish the lost water content.
- Use of vitamin C and antioxidant rich foods such as lemon, mint. Use them to make lemonade, which is easier to consume than just plain water.
- Include more water-based vegetables, green leafy vegetables and fruits such as melons, berries, oranges, seasonal fruits such as mangoes rich in vitamin A, C and potassium.
- Use fruits in the form of fresh juice or cold milkshakes.
- Natural electrolyte and nutrient-rich coconut water.
- Use of probiotics such as curd or buttermilk to help with digestion
- Always consume freshly prepared foods, as the heat can spoil the food and growth of microorganisms.
Foods to be reduced or avoided that can cause adverse events,
- Alcohol and other aerated beverages
- Processed foods and sugary foods
- Caffeine in any form, coffee, or tea.
- Fried foods, foods from open stalls
- Extremely high quantity of spices such as chilli powder, pepper, ginger, cinnamon that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms due to more heat production.
- Poultry and meat as heat can spoil them if exposed for long time during transit, or improperly frozen.
One cross-sectional study showed that extreme heat stress can trigger psychosomatic symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and other somatization (physical) symptoms (Aghamohammadi et al., 2021)
- Aghamohammadi, N. et al. (2021) ‘Environmental heat-related health symptoms among community in a tropical city’, Science of the Total Environment, 782, p. 146611. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146611.
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