Summer Chillers Recommended This SeasonLuke Coutinho
With the rise in temperature day by day, ensuring that you’re well-hydrated and your mind and body are taken care of becomes crucial.
The human body is 60% water, and proper hydration is utterly essential for overall health. After all, the water that is consumed optimizes blood pressure, regulates body heat, lubricates the joints, moves waste out of the body, and aids in digestion.
And with increased temperatures comes increased water loss—through sweating and evaporation, as your body works to remain cool.
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Water?
Most folks experience dehydration and symptoms like; muscle cramps, fatigue, and extreme thirst when more water moves out of the body than is taken in. Indeed, these are just a few of the indications of poor hydration. But did you know that dehydration affects your brain as well?
The brain is composed of 73% water. If you don’t maintain your water intake, especially in this extreme climate or while exercising, your thinking and cognition can suffer. In one study, adolescents who exercised for 90 minutes to a state of dehydration experienced a significant shrinking of brain tissue, very similar to a sponge overlooked to become dry.
In fact, a 2% reduction in body water weight (a mere 3 pounds on a 150-pound person) can cause problems with short-term memory, attention, and visual-motor tracking. Other signs that you could be dehydrated include loss of appetite, dry mouth, mild constipation, and temporary lightheadedness.
The easiest way to check your level of hydration is the color of your urine. Pale urine (the color of a straw) indicates adequate hydration, while darker-colored urine may be a sign that your body needs more fluids.
Here are some of the summer foods that will help you stay hydrated and at the same time keep your body cool.
Add the following foods to cool your system:
- Fennel Seeds (Saunf): These have been used as digestive herb for ages. You can chew 1 tsp post your meals. You can also have a refreshing sherbet. Here’s the recipe: Blend 1.5 tbsp boiled/soaked fennel seeds with 1 tsp sugar candy (mishri), a dash of rock salt.
- Wood Apple (Bael): This can be eaten as is or made into juice. With the help of a spoon, scoop out the soft pulp from 1 wood apple and add 1 cup of water. Soak this mixture for 20 minutes. You can strain the mixture or use it as it is. Then add 2 tbsp of jaggery, 1 tsp roasted cumin powder, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, and 2 pinches of black salt. Mix very well and serve.
- Garcinia Indica (Kokum): This stimulates appetite and improves digestion. It can be added while seasoning curries, as a juice, or in sol kadhi.
- Basil Seeds (Sabja): This is a natural coolant and used to improve acidity, constipation, and skin health. It can be soaked for 4 – 5 hours and then consumed by adding it to water or any juice. Check out the Sabja Refresher, recipe!
- Cumin Seeds (Jeera): This helps to boost metabolism and manage blood sugar, in addition to boosting your hydration. It can be added to the seasoning, chewed post meals, sprinkled over salad, or had in the form of jal jeera. Check out the Jaljeera recipe!
- Yogurt: With great taste and immense health benefits for the digestive system, immune system, skin, hair, and bones, curd or yogurt is consumed worldwide. It can be had like buttermilk, lassi, a snack, or an accompaniment with khichdi. Please ensure the curd is from ethically sourced A2 cow milk.
- Cucumber: This vegetable detoxifies your body and also keeps your skin healthy and beautiful. It is made up of 95 percent water and hence is super hydrating. It can be added to a salad, had as a mid-meal, or simply juiced.
- Aam Panna: Aam Panna is made of green mangoes, which are rich in pectin. Pectin inside the human body helps regulate the digestive process and manage ailments like diarrhea, piles, gastroenteritis, and constipation. Read more about raw mangoes here!
- Mint: This contains menthol, which is excellent to relax the digestive system. You can add it to salad or water or have its juice.
- Green Chilli: The basic property of green chilli is spice, but they cool the system after consumption. You may have one small light green de-seeded chilli if you are not allergic or have gut issues.
- Onions: The juice from onions is also recommended for consumption as well as external use during summers to treat heatstroke and soothe sunburns, respectively.
- Coconut Water: Tender coconut water is rich in vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. These help the body to restore the essential electrolytes. Simply have it in the most natural form.
- Celery: Celery contains vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids, and about 12 other kinds of antioxidants. It’s also an excellent source of phytonutrients, that reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, cells, blood vessels, and organs. You can add celery to a salad or have it as juice.
- Coriander Seeds: This helps to reduce bloating. Coriander seed powder can be sprinkled over curries or you can have it as a tea. Boil 1 tbsp of coriander seeds in 2 cups of water, reduce to half, strain, and sip warm.
- Cilantro: Cilantro is a wonderful source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron, and magnesium and is often used as a garnish. You can also have it as a juice.
- Melons: Loaded with electrolyte and about 92 percent water, melons will help you stay hydrated and make you feel full. Consider having a bowl of watermelon or muskmelon.
- Vetiver Roots: Not only is vetiver (khus) root water extremely cooling to the system, bringing down body heat, it is also a great natural antioxidant and alkalizer. Besides reducing inflammation and soothing the body, it also soothes you mentally, calming the mind and controlling negative emotions. You can have it by adding it to your detox water or as a sherbet. Recipe: Wash 1 cup of vetiver roots and soak it overnight (at least 10 hours) in 1 liter of water. Strain it and heat it by adding 3 tbsp of jaggery, reduce it to half. Store this in the refrigerator. To make sherbet, add 2 tbsp of the mix and add it to 1 glass of water; add a few drops of lemon, rock salt, and enjoy.
- Cardamom: The cooling effects of cardamom, despite being a spice, can help in relieving acidity. You can simply suck a cardamom post-meal or have it as a tea. Boil 2 cups of cardamom with 1 tsp of ginger, reduce it to half, strain, and sip warm.
- Jowar: Rich in vitamin B1, iron, and fiber, it helps you increase the rate at which your body burns fat and is an excellent coolant. You may consider having it as a roti, upma, chilla, dosa, khichdi, or porridge.
- Licorice: Licorice brims with cooling and soothing qualities that act as an ointment in the hot summer. You can add it to tea or suck a stick.
- Rose: Helps to elevate the mood and also soothe the internal system. Simply add some rose petals to a glass of water, or add dried rose petals to a mouth freshener.
- Gooseberries (Amla): This is rich in antioxidants, which manage chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. You can have its juice or consider having it as a candy. Check out the recipe.
- Lemon: It is an excellent detoxifier and great for the gut. You can simply have 1 glass of lemon water to refresh your afternoon.
- Pumpkin (Dudhi): This contains iron, folate, potassium, and manganese and helps to keep the system cool. You can have this as a vegetable or have as a juice.
- Ice Apples (Tadgolas): This seasonal fruit helps to flush out toxins from the body; it also helps maintain the body’s natural temperature.
- Sweet Toddy (Neera): It is known to quench thirst and is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Chia: Chia seeds are packed with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein, which not only enhances energy levels in the body but also improves bone health and density. Consider having 1 tsp or 1 tbsp chia seeds per day.
- Zucchini: This is rich in multiple antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, that help keep the immune system strong. This can be had in a stir-fry or salad.
- Hibiscus tea: Aids digestion, is a body coolant, helps in weight management, anti-aging, rich in vitamin C, manages blood sugar levels, and keeps your liver healthy.
- Sattu: This summer coolant is naturally rich in protein and many nutrients, including iron. Ways to incorporate sattu:
Note: To prepare juices, blend 1 cup of the ingredient with 100ml of water, 1-inch ginger, ¼ tsp of cumin seeds, 1 pinch of salt.
Water is truly an elixir of life. As we move forward towards scorching summer months, remember to drink adequate water and add these summer-friendly healthy edibles and drinks to keep you hydrated, relax your skin, and keep your tummy cool all summer long. Load your pantry and beat the heat away! Your body (and mind) will thank you!
Disclaimer: If certain foods do not suit you, please do have them.
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