THESE SUMMER FOODS are not only loaded with a hoard of heat fighting and hydrating properties but also beat the heat before it gets a chance to cause disease and bring a smile to your face due to their cooling effect.
WATER — When you think about a healthy diet, it's easy to overlook the most important nutrient of all — water. It's the natural juice that keeps your body's chemical processes going. You need to drink as much liquid every day as you lose through perspiration and excretion to keep you hydrated especially in hot weather. One of the water's most important jobs is to keep your body temperature within a safe range and to prevent you from heat illness. Heat cramps and heat exhaustion are mild forms of heat illness but heat stroke is a life threatening emergency.
WATERMELON — We all are very well aware of the refreshing and revitalising effects of an icy-cold slice of watermelon on a hot sunny day. Not only it's low in calories, it will also give you a nutritious dose of vitamins A and C, potassium and antioxidants which all work together in keeping us hydrated by preventing inner dryness.
AVOCADO — Known for its healthy fat and fibre (which fights cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, etc.) avocados are loaded with potassium and antioxidants which play an important role in keeping your body hydrated. Foods rich in potassium, when eaten, have a natural cooling effect on your body and make you feel light and happy.
CUCUMBER — If you want to stay cool this summer, have lots of cucumber! This light and crunchy vegetable has lots of water and fibre and has soothing effects when the heat is on.
ONIONS — Onions might make you cry, but they certainly don't give you any reason to be sad. On the contrary, onions offer a bounty of health benefits along with tears. The powerful antioxidants in onions make them a super food in fighting heat strokes.
TOMATOES — This juicy and delicious fruit is known for the lycopene (a unique nutrient that may ward off many diseases) content can keep you well-nourished and hydrated by preventing water loss from the body in extreme summers.
OLIVE OIL — Olive oil is not some new miracle. It's been around — and prized for both cooking and healing — for thousands of years. Being rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, it prevents heat from entering your body and prevents tissue damages caused by free radicals.
BEANS — A well-known member of the legume family, are sometimes called the "poor man's meat" as they are a cheap way to get healthy protein. Besides being high in protein, they are packed with fibre and lots of antioxidants you need for your body to keep it disease free. Try combining different types of beans for a cold salad on a hot summer day.
Monika Seth/Nutritionist and diet consultant specialising in weight loss at Al Raffah Hospital