What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘summer’? Is it the homemade mango shake that strikes a chord with you or the endless servings of lemon juice that take you down the memory lane? Either way, summertime holds a special place in everyone’s heart as it brings along a feast of delectable food items with it. But did you know that the summer foods are much more than just some flavoursome memories?
Most of the nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables like mango, cucumber, etc that are gorged on during the hot summer months are termed as ‘superfoods’.
Superfoods are nutritionally dense, dietary additions that amplify the energy levels in your body. They are mostly plant-based like fruits, vegetables, herbs and also include fish and dairy.
Packed with a megadose of essential nutrients like healthy fats, fibre and phytochemicals, they are known to prevent common health problems like diabetes and heart diseases. This is why they are highly recommended on a daily basis but more importantly during the summer, to help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs.
While the list of superfoods is only growing, here are a few essential ones to help you beat the summer heat while boosting your mood.
Summer is an exciting time with long sunny days, adventurous vacations and ‘not-so-formal’ routines.
However, the good old summertime can also trigger feelings of being overwhelmed and a sense of losing control. One of the simpler ways to create a happier mind space is through a healthy addition of vegetables into your daily diet.
Cucumbers and onions contain fisetin — an antioxidant belonging to the flavonoid group, that is known for calming your mind. Moreover, onions are also helpful in keeping common summer infections and allergies at bay.
As you already know, many vegetables are highly fibrous and come jam-packed with phytonutrients that aid your body in flushing the toxins out. Just like the humble eggplant. It provides your body with an ample dose of Vitamin C to improve immunity and the overall growth and development of the body tissues.
Your body goes through a lot during the summer, which is why it is essential for you to stay hydrated and keep your body ‘sun-damage’ free!
This summer, load up on cucumbers and tomatoes on a daily basis for a blissful time. With a composition of more than 90% of water, cucumbers hydrate your skin and body, adding a natural glow to your complexion. They also consist of Vitamin K that helps in regulating the calcium levels, keeping your body well-balanced.
Tomatoes, on the other hand, are packed with Lycopene — a carotenoid, known to fight off the harmful UV radiation to keep your skin safe and supple.
So this warm season, add a few more cucumbers to your garden salad and dice a few extra tomatoes for your Mexican salsa. Choose a hearty eggplant over a chicken for your Sunday barbeque. And have a glass of onion water every morning to start each day on an energised note!
Fruits play a pivotal role in enhancing the health and maintenance of your body. They are loaded with essential minerals and nutrients that make you feel energised, instantly. Packed with antioxidants, fruits are nature’s best way to improve your overall well-being.
Pineapple, a summer favourite all over the world, has great anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent swelling in the body, a common problem noticed during summer.
Mango, on the other hand, is rich in Vitamin A & E that help in treating the dry-eye condition which is quite common because of the summer heat. Because of the high fibre content, both pineapple and mango boost the gut.
Mango is also rich in pectin, which naturally strengthens your body to regulate the temperature, creating a soothing balance.
As you already know, summers can sometimes be quite tiresome. A lot of people experience ‘heavy legs’ due to pooling of blood in their legs. This could be the result of higher levels of humidity in the air.
Watermelon is the best cure here! Loaded with lycopene, it improves the blood flow in your body. It is also packed with citrulline, an alpha-amino acid that boosts the growth hormone, making it easier for your body to build muscle tissues.
Grapes make another wonderful summer addition to your diet. They have a low saturated fat content, sodium and cholesterol. They are highly beneficial for your skin as well, keeping it hydrated and glowing during the dry season.
Replace your lost electrolytes this summer with traditional fruit juices like aam panna and mango lassi every day. Or go the extra mile with lip-smacking recipes like watermelon skewers with feta cheese; grilled pineapple with barbeque sauce; seasonal mango raita or frozen grapes dipped in greek yoghurt!
When too much heat accumulates in the body, you may experience inflammation, allergies, skin breakouts, etc. which is why it becomes crucial to include herbs into your food intake.
Herbs play an important role in helping your body restore its natural state of balance while cooling itself simultaneously.
Indian Basil or Tulasi, the sacred herb of India, is also sometimes referred to as the ‘summer’s herb’. It is known to counter the metabolic stress by normalizing blood sugar and pressure levels.
Mint, which is a summer staple in India, supports better digestion without raising the body heat. It helps in relieving heat-induced headaches and boosts your mood by fighting fatigue. It also aids in keeping your summer allergies away.
It also restores the pH levels in the body and detoxifies it by flushing out the built-up fat in the liver. This holy herb is also known to feed healthy bacteria within the gut microflora, resulting in increased immunity and healthy digestion.
Ashwagandha, commonly known as Indian ginseng, plays a pivotal role in Ayurveda as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is used to treat joint pains and immobility, sometimes observed during summer.
Khus root, on the other hand, is an age-old cooling remedy that can help you fight the heat stroke to a significant level. It is packed with antioxidants and nutrients like zinc that help in reducing the redness in eyes which is often observed in summer.
From boosting blood circulation to quenching your thirst on time, khus root is a heavenly choice for a chilled sharbat after dinner.
Other ways to incorporate these holy herbs into your daily routine is by consuming them in the form of infused teas. Herbal teas are known for their ability to soothe the nerves, therefore calming your mind and body. They also help in bringing down the temperature of your body in extreme heat.
The sweltering heat of summer often depletes the level of minerals and vitamins in your body. Water-based drinks instantly cool down your body temperature.
Buttermilk is the crowned king of summer drinks. It is naturally loaded with probiotics that soothe your digestive tract.
It is also a storehouse of nutrients like calcium, vitamin A & E that improve your immunity. A glass of buttermilk with a hint of cumin powder can work wonders for you.
Sugarcane juice is another popular option for the hot summer days. The amino acids found in it help balance the stress hormones and induce sleep. Since it is enriched with natural sugar, it is the perfect choice to rehydrate your body, ultimately fighting off the summer fatigue.
Lemonade and coconut water are other drinks to load up on, in the next few months. Lemon is considered a natural panacea to a lot of health problems. It helps in balancing the pH levels in your body and also purifies the blood. Lemon juice mixed with water alkalizes your body by reducing acidity. It is also the perfect way to naturally get rid of sun tan.
Maintaining healthy blood pressure also becomes crucial because of the sudden change in weather patterns. It is generally lower during summer due to an increase in the temperature. Coconut water is one way to achieve a healthy balance.
It supplies your body with a balanced dosage of both Magnesium and Potassium that enhance your heart’s health. Free from preservatives and added sugar, it also quickly cures indigestion and acid reflux.
Summer is the most awaited time of the year for a lot of people, irrespective of the age group. Though it sometimes could be challenging for your body and mind. With the right combination of diet and exercise, the hot days can be managed like a breeze.
Staying hydrated and avoiding spicy & deep-fried foods is the key to a cheery summer. Add these superfoods in optimum quantity to your diet to stay relaxed and rejuvenated throughout the summer!