Every season brings with it a host of seasonal produce that is best suited for the body for that particular period, and helps it tackle the respective weather conditions. Hence, summertime too is abundant with superfoods, which are packed with nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that can aid in keeping you hydrated and healthy as the increasing temperatures take a toll on your body.
According to Dr Archana Batra, a dietitian, physiotherapist, and certified diabetes educator, “Some foods help keep the body cool during the summer, while others aggravate the problem. Our bodies take time to adjust to temperature changes, so do our digestive systems, which have a hard time digesting extremely hot and heavy foods. Bulk of digestion-related illnesses occur in summer. Hence, consumption of alkaline and water rich foods in summer is advisable.”
The Top Summer Superfoods
Here’s a quick glance at some of the finest summertime offerings that you must make a point to eat in hot and humid environments:
Indian gooseberry or amla
This superfood contains 10 times more Vitamin C as compared to oranges. “It is high in antioxidants that are needed to protect against heat and harsh sun rays. Amla juice also helps to keep the body cool and can help against summertime illnesses including diarrhoea, cholera, and viral infections,” says Dr Archana.
Made up of up to 92% water, this melon prevents dehydration, and hence, can help you avoid all your summer ailments like body soreness, heatstroke, muscle cramps and chronic dehydration. Watermelons also help reduce the amount of uric acid in blood that aids in keeping your urinary system healthy.
Perhaps the sweetest and juiciest summer treat, this vibrant fruit is a nutritional trove. “Its fibrous nature relieves constipation and helps in cleansing and detoxifying your system. Mangoes are great source of Vitamin A that is integral for vision and Vitamin C, which help boosts our immunity. They are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium that help lower blood pressure and are loaded with antioxidants, which keep your skin youthful,” says Dr Rohini Patil, nutritionist, lifestyle expert, and author.
Holy basil seeds
Also called sabja or falooda seeds, they have a potent water holding capacity that keeps you hydrated and prevents bloating. They are also known for reducing body heat and soothing the stomach and digestive tract. Dr Archana suggests you added them to drinks like coconut water, lemonades, milkshakes, or smoothies to improve their nutritional value.
Dr Rohini highly recommends adding them to your summer diet as, “Cucumbers flush out toxins from the body and their high-water content combines body cooling effects with rehydration benefits. They are a blessing for the skin, helping it stay fresh and blemish-free. Cucumbers also keeps bloating and constipation at bay and can be juiced or mixed with curd as a source of probiotics.”
“If you are someone who spends too much time in front of screens and have been experiencing eye fatigue or dryness, blueberries are something you must include in your summer diet as they are rich in carotenes and zeaxanthin,” adds Dr Rohini. “Due to dehydration during summer, one might also be vulnerable to urinary tract infection (UTI). Blueberries help inhibit the growth of the bacteria that causes UTIs, and they make for the perfect vitamin-rich shots you need to prevent flu and congestion this season.”
What Must You Avoid?
It is not only important to keep tabs on what you eat but as well as what you drink during the summers. According to Dr Rohini, “While battling the scorching heat during the summer, one tends to consume plenty of cold beverages. It is a good idea to reduce the intake of hot beverages like tea or coffee. That’s because they tend to increase the overall temperature of the body and disturb the digestive system. Instead, consume cooling substitutes like nimbu pani, aam panna, buttermilk, juices, or coconut water.”
Plus, caffeinated drinks that have a mild diuretic effect, which means they drain water out of the body and increase the risk of dehydration, must also be avoided. Refrain from oily and spicy food that trigger body heat and cause skin eruptions.