Dubai, UAE: The hotter it gets, the lighter your summer eating plan should be to stay healthy, say experts.
Dr Leena Kapoor, specialist in Internal Medicine at the Prime Health Care Group, told Gulf News: “During summer, we tend to lose a lot of body water and electrolytes due to sweating. Even if we stay indoors, the air-conditioning causes dehydration. So it is particularly important to eat foods that are high in water content and replenish your electrolyte balance. When you have depleted sodium in your body and a potassium imbalance, blood pressure can drop, causing cause hypotension (low blood pressure) which causes dizziness and disorientation. We get many such cases at the hospital. The best way to counter the heat is have frequent small meals that are light on the stomach and have high water content.”
Sirine Takedienne, senior dietitian at the RAK Hospital, Diabetes Centre in Dubai, focused on the kinds of food groups that can help an individual prevent heat exhaustion. “[During] heat exhaustion, the body temperature rises, giddiness may set in, there is rapid and shallow breathing, nausea and headache due to dehydration. This is common during summers.”
Drinking coconut water, iced green tea, and eating water-rich fruits and fresh green vegetables aid hydration and keep the body cool, she said.
Takidienne added: “It is advisable to have fruits like water melons, musk melons and berries. Vegetables such as the leafy arugula, cucumber, zucchini, squash are also recommended as these are rich in vitamin C, B, K, manganese and antioxidants. While the vitamins provide high energy, antioxidants help fight free radicals as during summer, there is more outdoor pollution.”
Takidienne advised people to eat plenty of garden salads with light dressing as part of their daily meals as also healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil. Avoid saturated fats, fried food, shortbread, and pastries that stress out digestion.
For non-vegetarians, keeping the consumption of animal fats to the minimum is a good practice during summer. “It is preferable to have seafood or lightly grilled chicken.”
She also advised eating small portions of carbohydrates as this food group provides a good source of energy. Whole-wheat pasta, quinoa or rice are good choices. “Include legumes in your diet such as chick peas, lentils, and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower to counter the ravages of summer,” she said.
Home-made yoghurt smoothies with a dash of organic honey and eating berries is not only cooling and refreshing but also a low-calorie option. “I recommend low-fat yoghurt smoothie with either a banana or berries, with a sprinkling of nuts for an energy booster,” said Takiedienne.
Best foods for summer
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