May 2015 By Naini Setalvad With the blistering summer upon us, safeguard against the very real possibility of a sunstroke by choosing from our repertoire of cooling foods,says Naini Setalvad Sunstrokes in summer are caused by ‘hyperthermia’, a condition where the body takes in more heat than it gives off because of the soaring heat and humidity. Your body loses a lot of water due to sweating, creating dehydration and compromising the body’s capacity to balance the internal temperature. Keeping our bodies internally cool, and well-hydrated is our best remedy to withstand the rigours of summer. Sunstrokes can cause the following symptoms: Mental confusion; muscle cramps; headaches; drop in blood pressure; body becomes red or bluish; chills, trembling, fever; convulsions in young children; temporary vision impairment; unconsciousness and coma, dizziness, fainting and often nausea or vomiting. At this stage the victim will likely NOT be sweating. Victims may become hostile. Here are the measures you can take to prevent this sinister malaise: During summer it is important to hydrate yourself.The gentlest way is to start your day with a glass of simple, room temperature water. Keep this going throughout the day. Consume nimbu paani (lemon juice) with rock salt. The salt and lemon juices will replenish your lost nutrients due to perspiration. Squeezelemon on everything you eat. You could also opt for coconut water, which replenishes the minerals lost while perspiring, and contains natural electrolytes. Coconut water is counted as a wonder food, and is unsurprisingly called the ‘fluid of life’ because of its oral rehydration capacity. It keeps the body cool, even as its subtly sweet flavor refreshes you. Sugarcane juice is a brilliant alternative. Squeeze lemon in it. It provides the body with natural sugar. Aam panha, a drink made of raw mangoes, is a famous home remedy for sunstroke. Raw mangoes could be added to all your salad, or you could make a simple mango pickle with chilly and rock salt. Even simply eating the slices of mango rubbed with rock salt available on the streets is delicious and helps to keep away sunstroke. Yoghurt (plain, or in the form of raitas or buttermilk). Eating fresh yogurt regularly isthe most effective way to restore thebalance of intestinal bacteria called ‘flora’. Italso helps maintain the body’s temperatureclose to a constant level. Whip up somewater with yoghurt, mint, coriander, androasted cumin powder, the best desi way to hydrate and cool down this season. Melons are perfect for the summer. Watermelons and musk melons burst with water and high levels of natural sugar. Melons, or cantaloupes, are known to be among the most cooling of fruits. Not onlyare they a great pick-me-up on a hot summer’s day, but are packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature, while having almost negligible calorie content. A serving of chilled melons is the perfect way to beat the summer heat while boosting your immunity. Mangoes are synonymous with summer. They are available exclusively during summer months for a reason. The combination of natural sugar and fibre keep the body fresh and energised longer, while its water content cools the body down. Grain. Wheat, jowar (sorghum) and unpolished rice are cooling grains. Cucumber’s high water content helps to keep the body cool and refreshed. After all, the term “cool as a cucumber” exists for a reason! It restores the water content lost during summer months. It is commonlysold in summer seasoned with rock salt by street vendors as a cool and crunchy snack. Tomatoes are water-rich, easily available in summer, have a refreshingly tangy taste and are full of antioxidants. They also have Vitamin C, which not only protects your immunity, but keeps you away fromsummer diseases. Gourds such as snake gourd (parval), bottle gourd (doodhi, lauki), bittergourd (karela),ridge gourd (turai) ash gourd (safed bhopla) have cooling properties and are plentifully available in summer. Onions are natural coolants, especially for those who work in the heat all day. In Gujarat and the Kutch desert, workmen keep an onion under their turbans to prevent sunstrokes. In small quantities, cumin cools the body. Rock salt contains 80 trace minerals that are lost due to excess summer heat. Sprinkle it liberally into your drinks, salads and food. Mint is a cooling herb, and can be added to anything Fennel seeds (saunf, varyali) are cooling seeds. Have after meals in summer, toss in salads, or mix in lemon water with mint leaves. Coriander. Ayurveda considers fresh and dry coriander as a cooling herb and spice. It can be tossed in all your vegetables and salads. Cardamom reduces body temperature and preventssummer flu caused by high heat. Recommendations Have plenty of water. Thirst is not a reliable sign that a person needs fluids. A better indicator is the colour of urine. A dark yellow colour indicates dehydration. So drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol, and limit tea/coffee as they are all diuretics. Avoid heavy or oily gravies, red meat, spicy food, cream, fried food. Avoid being constantly in air-conditioning, as one becomes increasingly intolerant of hot summer temperatures mainly by the stress on your body from moving between a cool environment and the sweltering outdoor air. Jaljeera Ingredients One glass water 1\4 raw mango, chopped 1 cup coriander and mint leaves, chopped Rock salt to taste 1 tsp powdered cumin seeds Jaggery powder one teaspoon Method Blend all ingredients together with 1 glass of water. Strain. Serve chilled Kuchumber Ingredients Cut up some tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Garnish using lemon juice, rock salt, mint leaves, and roasted cumin powder Method Just blend. This, I believe, is a universal salad and can be had in combination with nearly any cuisine Eat according to the seasons, as nature has its reasons! This is a healthy way to sail through summer. About the author : Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist, specialising in lifestyle and immunity disorders. Her foundation, Health For You, throws light on healthy food habits.
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