Have oranges but not too many: What to eat and skip this summer

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Beating the heat in Kerala (or any other hot region) through your diet involves making choices that help keep your body cool, hydrated, and nourished. During hot weather, you may lose electrolytes through sweat. Consider incorporating foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and sodium, such as bananas, avocados, and coconut water. Have smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overeating and help maintain a steady energy level throughout the day.

Remember to listen to your body, and adjust your diet based on your individual preferences and needs. Additionally, consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalized advice based on your health conditions and lifestyle.


During summer, it's essential to focus on foods that are hydrating, cooling, and easy to digest. Here are some specific food suggestions for beating the heat:

Coconut water:

Coconut water is a natural electrolyte-rich beverage that helps in staying hydrated and replenishing essential minerals lost through sweating.

Girl drinking coconut water
Representative image: iStock/Bartosz Hadyniak


Cucumber has a high water content and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Include cucumber in salads or as a snack to stay cool.


Watermelon is not only delicious but also hydrating due to its high water content. It's a perfect summer fruit to enjoy on its own or in fruit salads.

Lime (Naranga):

Lime or lemon can be added to water or dishes for a burst of flavour. They are rich in vitamin C and have cooling properties.

Other citrus fruits

As temperatures rise, citrus fruits become a delicious and hydrating option to beat the heat. Loaded with essential vitamins and antioxidants, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits offer a burst of flavour and nutrients perfect for summer days. Whether enjoyed as a refreshing juice, added to salads, or eaten on their own, citrus fruits provide hydration and help replenish electrolytes lost through sweating.

Baby eating orange
Representative image: iStock/kmk-vova

Buttermilk (Sambharam):

Buttermilk is a traditional and popular drink in Kerala. It is refreshing, light, and helps in maintaining electrolyte balance.

Curd (Yogurt):

Yogurt is cooling and can be consumed as a snack or in the form of lassi. It also contains probiotics that support digestive health.


Enjoy ripe mangoes, a seasonal favourite in Kerala. They are not only delicious but also provide vitamins and antioxidants.

Tender coconut:

Apart from coconut water, the flesh of tender coconut is nutritious and hydrating. It contains electrolytes and provides a cooling effect.


Pineapple is another tropical fruit that's refreshing and hydrating. It can be consumed fresh or added to fruit salads.

Leafy greens:

Include leafy greens like spinach and fenugreek in your meals. They are rich in nutrients and can be cooked or consumed raw in salads.

Mint (Pudina):

Mint is a cooling herb that can be added to salads, drinks, or used in chutneys. It adds a refreshing flavor to your dishes.

How to preserve coriander and mint leaves for up to a year
Photo: Shutterstock/Andrey Sayfutdinov

Rice-based dishes:

Opt for lighter and easily digestible rice-based dishes like curd rice or lemon rice. These are popular choices during hot weather.


Fish and seafood are lighter protein options compared to red meat. Grilled or steamed fish dishes can be a good choice.

Ayurvedic drinks:

Consider herbal drinks like neem juice or aam panna (green mango drink), which are believed to have cooling effects in Ayurveda.

Remember to maintain a well-balanced diet and listen to your body's needs. It's crucial to stay hydrated and focus on foods that promote overall well-being during the hot summer months.

Be it in juice bars, pharmacies or grocery stores, wheatgrass juice can now be commonly found as powders, smoothies, supplements and more. Photo: Shutterstock/StockImageFactory.com


During Kerala's hot summer months, it's advisable to avoid certain foods that can contribute to heat build-up, dehydration, and digestive discomfort. Here are some foods to limit or avoid:

Spicy foods:

Spicy foods can increase body heat and may lead to discomfort in the hot weather. Limit the intake of hot peppers, curries, and heavily spiced dishes.

Heavy and rich foods:

Foods that are heavy, oily, or rich can be harder to digest, leading to sluggishness and discomfort. Avoid excessive consumption of fried foods, creamy curries, and rich desserts.

Red meat:

Red meat tends to be heavier and can increase body heat. Opt for lighter protein sources like fish, chicken, or plant-based proteins during the summer.

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Representative image: Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Citrus fruits in excess:

While citrus fruits like oranges are refreshing, consuming them in excess may lead to acidity for some individuals. Balance your intake and consider other hydrating fruits.

Remember that individual tolerance to certain foods may vary, so it's essential to listen to your body and make adjustments based on your personal needs and preferences. Staying hydrated and opting for lighter, whole foods will contribute to a more comfortable experience during the Kerala summer heat.

Caffeinated beverages:

Caffeine can contribute to dehydration. Limit the consumption of coffee, strong tea, and caffeinated sodas. Opt for herbal teas or water-rich beverages instead.


Alcohol can dehydrate the body, so it's best to limit its intake, especially in hot weather. If consumed, ensure you balance it with plenty of water.

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Sugary drinks and sweets:

Sugary beverages and sweets can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels and may contribute to dehydration. Choose natural sweeteners and hydrating alternatives.

Processed and packaged foods:

Processed and packaged foods often contain high levels of salt, sugar, and preservatives. These can contribute to dehydration and are generally not beneficial for overall health.

Pickles (Achaar):

While pickles are a staple in many Kerala households, they are often high in salt and spices. Excessive consumption may contribute to dehydration, so consume them in moderation.

Meat pickle. Photo: Wandering Pickle/iStockPhoto

Very cold foods and drinks:

Extremely cold foods and drinks can shock the digestive system and hinder digestion. It's better to consume foods and beverages at a moderate temperature.

Excessive dairy:

While moderate consumption of dairy products is fine, excessive intake may lead to digestive discomfort. Opt for lighter dairy options like yogurt instead of heavy creams.

Kids drinking juice
Representative image: iStock/triloks

Processed meats:

Processed meats, such as sausages and hot dogs, can contain additives and preservatives. They are best avoided or consumed in moderation.


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