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Beat the summer heat with these cooling foods

Try seasonal fruits, veggies and herbs to combat the sweltering heat. ©Shutterstock

During the sultry days of summer, opt for foods that will keep you cool and hydrated and rev up your digestive function while soothing your sunburnt skin.

Written by Editorial Team |Published : April 12, 2019 5:34 PM IST

In most parts of India, summer, unfortunately, isn't marked by 'lazy-hazy-crazy' days as American vocalist Nat King Cole mentioned in his famous song 'Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer.' In this part of the world, summer mostly means sweltering heat, dehydration, heat stroke, low energy levels, an upset tummy and scorched skin. So, when the mercury level is on the rise, we resort to unhealthy foods and drinks--aerated, sugar-laden juices and mocktails, calorie-dense ice creams-- to beat the heat. While offering temporary comfort, they leave us with negative calories and other health hazards as well. But you can ditch these food foes with healthier options that summer offers you. Now, your grocery market is full of cooling fruits and vegetables that have reached the peak of ripeness during this season. Also, there are a host refreshing herbs, that will help you breeze through the summer days. Go for these seasonal fruits, herbs and veggies as they are packed with the highest quantity of vitamins, minerals and nutrients now. Does this remind you of the advice of good old granny? Well, she was absolutely right. Here is a list of summer-friendly foods and drinks that will keep you hydrated, soothe your skin and keep your tummy cool, making digestion easier. Bonus: They are yummy and don't make their presence felt in your waistline!

WATERMELON

[caption id="attachment_661006" align="alignnone" width="655"] Watermelon contains over 90 per cent of water. Shutterstock[/caption]

Nature has its own way of protecting us from the problems that it throws us into. Probably that's why we get watermelons abundantly during the summer, when we feel dehydrated through the day. This luscious fruit comes with above 90 per cent water. Moreover, it keeps your tummy cool and aids in digestion. It is loaded with a compound called lycopene which can safeguard your skin from sun damage. Need more reason to ditch that glass of cola drink for watermelon? It can slow down your ageing process and beat acne.

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CUCUMBER

[caption id="attachment_661005" align="alignnone" width="655"] Cucumber helps you detoxify your body. Shutterstock[/caption]

Inexpensive as it is, cucumber is also high in water content and works as a fabulous coolant. This cool and crunchy refreshing green will stave off constipation, boost your immunity and tame inflammation while soothing a sunburn. Have it in your salads or as juice. Bonus: While its high-water content detoxifies your body, the presence of silicon and sulphur in cucumber is good for your hair.

CURD

[caption id="attachment_661003" align="alignnone" width="655"] Curd provides gut-friendly bacteria that helps in digestion during summers. Shutterstock[/caption]

This is a natural coolant rich in probiotics. Your gut requires these gut-friendly bacteria more during the summer to digest food easily. You can have curd in the form of buttermilk, smoothies, sweet lassis and raita. Adding it to your fruits is also a good option.

COCONUT WATER

[caption id="attachment_661002" align="alignnone" width="655"] Drinking coconut water can help you maintain electrolyte balance in your body. Shutterstock[/caption]

It's a superb summer drink. Period. Apart from helping you fight the hot weather by keeping you hydrated, it also helps boost your digestive capacity. Bonus: Maintains electrolyte balance in your body, protects against cancer, nurtures cell growth, controls blood pressure, performs the function of a natural diuretic.

MINT

[caption id="attachment_661000" align="alignnone" width="655"] Add mint in the form of chutney or include this herb in your buttermilk to soothe your headache. Shutterstock[/caption]

This refreshing herb is abundant during the summer. It grabs a spot in this list because it heals an upset tummy and fights allergies. This time of the year is infamous for giving you heat rashes and gut issues. Also, research shows that it can be effective in soothing headache. It can work as a liver cleanser too. You can add mint in the form of chutney or add it to your lemon water, buttermilk and raita.

GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES

[caption id="attachment_660999" align="alignnone" width="655"] Eat leafy green veggies during summers to prevent dehydration. Shutterstock[/caption]

This is one food group that is recommended for all seasons throughout your life. However, having them during the summer has an additional benefit because their water content is high. Don't overcook them in order to prevent water loss.

ONIONS

[caption id="attachment_660998" align="alignnone" width="655"] Prevent yourself from a sun stroke by including onions in your diet. Shutterstock[/caption]

Seems like an illogical addition, right? Well, not really. Onions can actually help you fight a sun stroke because it is a heat absorbent. Moreover, red onions can act against allergies, thanks to their compounds known as quercetin.Though having them raw is suggested by experts, it may not be possible because of the strong smell that onions emit. So, include them in your recipes.

BITTERGOURD

[caption id="attachment_660997" align="alignnone" width="655"] Tackle the symptoms of measles with bittergourd. Shutterstock[/caption]

It is rich in antioxidants which are essential for battling various symptoms of measles, a common occurrence during the months of April and May. It is also good for treating summer boils and rashes. Other benefits: It is high in vitamin C and other nutrients which can up your immune function.

MELONS

[caption id="attachment_660996" align="alignnone" width="620"] Keep heart ailments at bay by including melons in your salads during the summer season. Shutterstock[/caption]

Juicy and scrumptious, these fruits are fabulous hydrants. They are also known to help you in keeping your blood pressure levels in check and fighting cancer symptoms and heart ailments. You can add melons in your salads, smoothies, shakes and desserts.

PINEAPPLE

[caption id="attachment_660995" align="alignnone" width="655"] Rev up your digestive capacity with pineapples. Shutterstock[/caption]

Pop in some pineapple this summer. Refreshing and cooling, pineapples come with anti-inflammatory enzymes that up your digestive capacity. One of the enzymes, known as bromelain, is good for breaking certain proteins in your stomach that lead to bloating. Bonus: Pineapples help you maintain a flat tummy.

BOTTLE GOURD

[caption id="attachment_660994" align="alignnone" width="655"] Keep stomach problems at bay with the help of bottle gourd. Shutterstock[/caption]

Lauki, also known as bottle gourd, is a very good summer vegetable as it acts as a hydrant and coolant. It helps you make up for the electrolytes that you have lost in sweat. Also, its high fibre content helps your gut to function at its best during the difficult summer days. In fact, bottle gourd can be called a superhero among summer vegetables as it comes with a wide range of benefits apart from keeping you cool and hydrated and driving away tummy troubles: It is rich in is nutrients like calcium, folate, magnesium and vitamin C while working as a weight-loss agent and blood purifier as well. You can have it in the form of juice or as a cooked vegetable. Add it to your grocery shopping list for sure.

CORN

[caption id="attachment_660993" align="alignnone" width="655"] Save yourself from ultraviolet rays by adding corns in your meal. Shutterstock[/caption]

The phytochemicals present in corns, lutein and zeaxanthin, will help you beat the ultraviolet rays. Moreover, they are high in fibre. Also, adding this vegetable in your meals is quite easy. Try corn on the cob without butter.

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