Foods to cool you down this sizzling summer
Stick a fork in the stifling heat this summer by indulging in cooling foods.
As the sun bears down with ever-increasing fury and the mercury continues to soar, you know there's no escape from summer. It's the season when the slightest activity causes sweat to dot your brow and energy levels and appetite both go for a toss. But there are ways to make summer less unbearable, even pleasant. Eating the right foods is one of them.
In summer, juices and cool drinks are more than a luxury. They rehydrate you and replenish sugar and salts lost through perspiration. Coconut water is an excellent option that is as nourishing as it is cooling. Other great indigenous options include fruit and sugarcane juice, nimbu pani, kokan juice, aam panna (a drink made from raw mangoes), neera, chhaas and jal jeera. Avoid colas and aerated drinks however, as these can be dehydrating.
Nutritious, full of water and refreshing, fruits make the ideal summer food. Watermelon, melon and citrus fruit are tasty snacks to beat the heat. Many seasonal Indian fruits available at this time, such as mangoes (ripe and raw), jamuns, safed jaam and litchis have properties that make them especially appropriate for this season.
Soups can be a healthy staple in your summer diet. You can of course pick from the usual tomato, mixed vegetable, corn or moong options. But chilled soups made from vegetables such as cucumber or carrot, along with fruit and herbs such as mint and coriander will make for a refreshing change. Apart from being hydrating, soups also help you to eat less and stay light.
A good serving of salads can perfectly complement your summer meals. In fact, chopped cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, beetroot and lettuce with some sprouts, lime juice and a dash of salt can make for a filling and appetising meal in itself. The added bonus is that you are saved the bother of slaving in the kitchen.
Curd is another cooling food that is especially good to have during summer. It is rich in Vitamin B and helps soothe allergies and ulcers that are common during hot weather. You can either have it as is, with rice, or in the form of any of its delightful preparations such as flavoured yoghurt, shrikhand, mishti doi, lassi or chhaas.
Save your biryanis and kormas for when it's cooler. Now you need watery gravies that can go well with rice. Light curries made using vegetables such as tomatoes, gourd (dudhi) and pumpkin will nourish you without weighing you down. Adding kokam, tamarind, jeera, herbs such as kadhi patta and coriander, or again, curd, will make them more cooling and appetising.
Ban these foods
You will also be better off avoiding or restricting foods that can aggravate the discomforts of summer. So avoid rich or heavy foods such as meat, eggs and fatty dairy products, as also fried, spicy or salty stuff. Also, go slow on nuts and dry fruit. Finally, cut down on your consumption of caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee and colas.