After a long chilly winter season, summer is the time to bask in the glory of the warm temperatures. Beach getaways, idyllic vacations, fishing, boating, strolling in your flip-flops by the lakeside, or splashing in the pool – summer is all about staying outdoors.
As your body gravitates towards the heat and humidity of the scorching summers, profuse sweating can drain your energy levels to a minimal. Warm temperatures can increase the risk of dehydration as your body loses a major portion of fluids, vitamins, and minerals through sweat.
A quick fix to this is consuming local seasonal produce of fruits and vegetables throughout the season.
There is an upsurge of fresh fruits and vegetables in the local markets during the summer time. Loaded with a high percentage of water, vitamins, and minerals, summer harvest can help you steer clear of the risks steamrolled by the rising mercury levels.
Common Summer Illnesses and Health Concerns
Aside from all the sunshine and brightness, the summer season also brings along some common health-related issues such as dehydration, heat stroke, and digestive problems, among others.
Dehydration: Prolonged periods of exposure to warm temperatures and sunlight without maintaining a balance in your fluid outgo and fluid intake can lead to dehydration. The inability to replace the lost fluids can leave you dehydrated. Thirst, dizziness, headache, and vomiting are the symptoms of dehydration.
Perpetual periods of dehydration can result in fatigue, constipation, kidney stones, low blood pressure, and muscle cramps.
Hyperthermia: The soaring temperatures in the surrounding environment can heat the body to a higher degree. This condition is called hyperthermia, which involves a range of problems such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
The increased temperature can debilitate the body’s strength to dissipate heat and maintain normal body temperature. Symptoms include hot flushed skin, fever, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, headache, and rapid breath.
Who Should Avoid Exposure to Heat?
Although summer is a time to enjoy and you cannot skip its beauty at any cost, the harsh temperatures can engender the risk of illnesses in:
- Young children
- Older adults
- Obese/overweight people
- People with some chronic medical conditions of the heart and lungs or with respiratory distress
- People who are prone to dehydration
- People working outdoors during hot weather
- People taking certain medicines that can hamper the body’s ability to dissipate heat, including antidiarrheal pills, beta-blockers, anti-Parkinson’s disease drugs, antihistamines, antidepressants, over-the-counter sleeping pills, and psychiatric drugs
Best Foods to Keep You Cool All Summer
While a slight inclination towards warmer temperatures makes summer a blessing, the heat and humidity that come along can up your risks of being struck by the season’s curse. A recourse to foods to keep your body cool and hydrated is the plan you need to work on.
Incorporating your diet with foods that are abundant in nutrients and offer a boost in your fluid, vitamin, and mineral levels can help you enjoy the summer months most without being down with a bout of dehydration or heatstroke.
Listed below are 10 such foods to jazz up your energy levels during the summer.
1. Stay Cool with a Cucumber Salad
Cucumbers are chock-full of water, which makes it an ideal food choice to keep your body cool and refreshed.
Besides the high-water content, cucumbers also contain the enzyme erepsin, which is involved in digestion and keeps the intestinal tract healthy, especially helpful in summer when people complain a lot about poor digestion.
- Enjoy a plate of cucumber salad as a cool and crunchy snack. You can also have cucumber soup or juice during the summer days.
2. Up Your Fluid and Electrolyte Levels with Coconut Water
Coconut water is a refreshing way to up your fluid and electrolyte levels during the hot summer days. Profuse sweating in sultry weather can deplete the water and essential mineral levels of your body.
Coconut water is a natural beverage packed with simple sugars, electrolytes, and minerals that help keep the body hydrated. A glass of coconut water can easily restore the electrolyte composition in body fluids. Plus, it may also aid in losing weight as it is low in fat, cholesterol, and chlorides. It keeps a person satiated for long and curbs food cravings.
- Stay hydrated with coconut water this summer. Drink coconut water on an empty stomach in the morning to protect yourself from a heatstroke.
3. Drink Buttermilk
Ending a long, hot day in the sun by drinking buttermilk is a great way to combat dehydration and fatigue. Containing a huge amount of water and electrolytes, a glass of buttermilk can help you rehydrate your body. Short-term buttermilk consumption also reduces blood pressure in individuals.
It also helps calm the stomach after a spicy meal and aids in digestion. Sweating, tiredness, muscle cramps, nausea, and headaches can also be reduced significantly by adding buttermilk to your diet. Plus, buttermilk is a great food for healthy skin.
- Replace your usual aerated drinks with 1 or 2 glasses of buttermilk daily.
4. Take a Sweet Treat of Watermelon
Watermelons are a whopping 92 percent of water, which makes them a perfect choice for your summer outings. Watermelon can contribute to your fluid intake by keeping your body well hydrated.
Also, watermelon provides plenty of antioxidants, including vitamins A and C and lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of complications from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, high blood pressure, macular degeneration, and arthritis.
- To keep your body cool and well hydrated during the hot summer months, munch on fresh watermelon daily. The refreshing and sweet taste of watermelon is liked by all, including children.
5. Take a Probiotic Shot of Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a perfect solution to cool the body by helping in dissipating body heat during the summer. Well known for its calcium and protein contents, Greek yogurt aids in digestive health by providing beneficial microflora and helping in the smooth functioning of the digestive system.
Greek yogurt can boost your immunity levels and aid in weight loss due to the unique protein and carbohydrate combination it offers.
- You can eat a cup of Greek yogurt for a refreshing summer treat. You can also top it with fresh strawberries or raspberries for a tasty dessert.
6. Replenish Your Energy Levels with Citrus fruits
Stacked with water and vitamin C, citrus fruits such as sweet lime, oranges, and lemon can help you maintain the water and electrolyte balance in your body.
Citrus fruits are also excellent sources of copper and iron. Their rich composition confers anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidative, neuroprotective, and cardioprotective properties.
In addition, vitamin C intake can help prevent skin hyperpigmentation, black spots, and pimples as well as can reduce sun tan in the summer months.
- Extract the juice of any citrus fruit and add a little salt and sugar to it to make a refreshing summer drink.
7. Give Yourself a Booster Dose of Kiwi
Kiwifruit is one of nature’s perfect foods: low in calories, high in energy, and an excellent source of antioxidants – vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and lutein.
The fruit is rich in fibers that offer numerous benefits to the digestive system in both healthy individuals as well as in those with constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders, including symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- You can eat kiwi with the skin after properly washing it. If you don’t like the skin, you can scoop out the green part with a spoon. Try fresh kiwi on breakfast cereal, pancakes, yogurt, or ice cream.
8. Relish Mouth-Watering Mangoes
Mangoes are rich in fiber that aids in digestion and also abundant in minerals and vitamins A, C, and E that are essential in maintaining good health. Readily available throughout the summer season, mangoes have a soothing and cooling effect that will keep you energized during the hot summer days.
- You can eat both ripe and unripe mangoes to beat the summer heat. Eat ripe mangoes as a fruit snack or add the pulp to milk or yogurt and blend it for a tasty smoothie.
- You can boil green raw mangoes, extract the pulp, add it to a glass of cold water, and sprinkle in some black salt and roasted cumin powder. To sweeten it, you can add a little coconut sugar or some other natural sweetener. This drink is an excellent remedy for heat stroke and exhaustion that occur in the summertime.
9. Savor Tomatoes
Add a delicious and nutritious punch to your summer meals by including tomatoes. One medium tomato is approximately 95 percent water and helps keep the body hydrated.
Tomatoes are high in lycopene, a phytochemical that has potent antioxidant properties and can prevent your skin from sun damage. Other vital nutrients in tomatoes include potassium, folate, dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, niacin, and vitamins B6, C, A, K, and E.
- Add fresh tomatoes to salads, sandwiches, or soups to keep yourself healthy all year round. You can also drink tomato juice.
10. Add Zucchini to Your Dishes
Abundant in antioxidant vitamins C and A and energy-boosting B vitamins, zucchini is a flavorful and creamy-textured vegetable that can settle well in many meals. It can perk up your immunity levels, and it contributes towards a sharp eyesight.
It is also a source of vitamin K, choline, zinc, dietary fiber, phosphorus, potassium, folate, and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. It also helps keep insulin metabolism and blood sugar levels in balance.
- Add fresh, raw, or stir-fried zucchini to your salads, pastas, and wraps. You can also have baked, stuffed, or sautéed zucchini dishes.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine.
- Avoid sugary aerated drinks.
- Allow proper ventilation in your home.
- Use air conditioners to reduce the room temperature.
- Wear loose, light-colored cotton clothes.
- Take showers and baths.
- Take regular breaks in between physical activity.
- Avoid going out in the sun and strenuous exercises during the hottest part of the day – between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Cover your exposed body parts and wear sunscreen when going out in the sun.
- Avoid staying inside a parked car, and never leave children, pets, or those with special needs in a parked car, even for a short time. Soaring temperatures can become dangerous.
Summer is a much-awaited season primarily to engage in outdoor activities. However, the warm temperatures can cause dehydration, heatstroke, and heat exhaustion. To avoid the perils of high temperatures and enjoy the sunshine, it is of utmost importance to stay hydrated in order to maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance of your body.
To appreciate the joys of summer, pile up your plates with these bountiful advocates of health and nutrition in your summer fare and keep your fluid and electrolyte levels at an optimum.
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