By Dr Nivedita
India is in the grip of a heatwave with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issuing a warning for several states. The temperature in several states has touched 45 degrees and in many places, schools have been shut. As heat singes the country, it becomes all the more important to pay heed to diet.
Diet To Beat Heatwave
To beat the heat during a heat wave, it’s crucial to stay hydrated and consume foods that can help lower your body temperature. Fresh fruits and vegetables are packed with water and nutrients, making them perfect for staying hydrated during a heat wave. Try watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, strawberries, and leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach. Smoothies and juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables are a refreshing way to stay hydrated and cool down. In addition to water, hydrating drinks like coconut water, iced tea, and lemonade can also help you stay cool during a heat wave.
Indian cuisine offers a wide variety of foods that are perfect for hot summer days. Here are some options:
1. Raita: This is a popular side dish made from yogurt, cucumber, and other vegetables. It helps to cool down the body and is also quite refreshing.
2. Chaas: Also known as buttermilk, it is a drink made from yogurt and water. It is a popular summer drink in India and is known for its cooling properties.
3. Lassi: This is a popular drink made from yogurt and water. It is available in sweet and salty flavors and is a great way to cool down on a hot day.
4. Fresh fruits: India has a wide variety of fruits available during the summer months. Some popular options include mangoes, watermelons, muskmelons, and litchis.
5. Salads: Indian cuisine offers a variety of salads made from fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. These are perfect for a light and refreshing summer meal.
6. Coconut water: This is a popular drink in India, especially during the summer months. It is a natural hydrator and helps to cool down the body.
Food Types To Avoid As Mercury Soars
It is important to avoid certain foods that can contribute to dehydration, increase body temperature, and cause discomfort such as:
1. Spicy foods: Spicy foods may cause you to sweat and increase your body temperature, making you feel even hotter in a heat wave.
2. Heavy, fatty foods: Foods that are high in fat and protein take longer to digest, which can raise your body temperature and make you feel lethargic in hot weather.
3. Caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. It’s best to either avoid or limit your consumption of these drinks during a heat wave.
4. Processed and salty foods: Processed foods and those high in sodium can lead to dehydration and water retention, making you feel even more uncomfortable during a heat wave.
5. Fried foods: Fried foods are high in fat and calories, which can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable in hot weather.
6. Sugary drinks and desserts: Consuming sugary drinks and desserts can cause a quick spike in your blood sugar levels, followed by a crash that can leave you feeling tired and sluggish in hot weather.
(Disclaimer: Dr Nivedita is Head, Clinical Nutrition, Amrita Hospital. The views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Zee News.)