Follow this summer diet to stay healthy and refreshed

Kerala is bracing for a warm February which will then be followed by the harsh summer months of March, April and May. Though Kerala doesn't need unique dishes and eating habits for the summer or the monsoon seasons like in many foreign countries, it is necessary to avoid food items that increase the body heat and sweating during scorching summers.

The body has to be made strong and healthy to take on the harsh summer sun and many diseases as well. The high temperature and humid conditions increase the spread of bacteria. So, the body has to be made stronger through proper diet and life style. Usually, the body would lower its functions to decrease the temperature. So, the appetite, too, would reduce. Food that can be easily digested should be eaten during summer season.

Sweet and watery fruits like watermelon and oranges should be consumed regularly. Rice, wheat and green gram would supply the essential nutrients during the summer. Soups that are less fatty can be consumed. Be sure to include vegetables like tomato, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, lady finger, egg plants, broad beans and cucumbers in your regular diet.

Tubers like potato, tapioca and Chinese potato and garlic could be used in minimal quantities. Green gram, urad dal and yellow split dal help reduce the body temperature. However, horse gram, red cow peas and sesame seeds may increase the body heat. Fruits like mangoes, bananas, grapes, tender coconut and small bananas could be eaten daily. Meat dishes and fast food may not be the ideal food items during summer, so it is better to consume it in very low quantities. Make sure that you stay away from all forms of intoxication including alcoholic beverages during the summer.

Water is important

It is necessary to drink at least 8 glasses water daily. However, it could go up to 12 glasses during the summer. This is besides other forms of liquid intakes such as juices, fruits or tea. Try to avoid ice creams, chocolates, tea, coffee and soft drinks. It is always good to drink boiled water that has been cooled down to room temperature. Boiled water that is stored and cooled in mud pots are extremely refreshing. Herbs like vetiver, pathimukham or sappnwood, sandalwood and naruneendi (Indian sarsaparilla) could be added while boiling water. Drinking fresh buttermilk, lassi and tender coconut water would replenish the body with minerals that are lost through profuse sweating.

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