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Read this nutritionist’s guide to summer foods to be your energetic best

Updated on:3 June 2020, 09:51am IST
Just because all fruits and veggies—from gobhi to watermelon—are available 365 days a year, doesn’t mean you should eat them. Today we’re making the case for eating seasonal for better health and immunity.
Jinal Keval Savla
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It’s time to eat what’s in season to stay in the pink of health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Summer is here and if you have been profusely sweating all day, feel fatigued and low on energy quite often—then it’s time to rejig your diet and change what you eat. And while you’re at it, include more and more seasonal foods in your diet. 

Why is it important to eat seasonal foods?  
Seasonal fruits are available in abundance, are better to taste, are packed with macro and micronutrients, and contain less chemicals and pesticides than non-seasonal foods. Needless to say, they benefit both our health as well as the environment.

But what’s seasonal and what’s not these days?
If the year-long supply of gobhi and watermelon have you confused about what’s in season, then here are a couple of pointers for you: 

  • Seasonal foods are always locally available and in more quantities than non-seasonal foods
  • They are pocket friendly and cheaper than non-seasonal fruits
ways to prevent dehydration
Seasonal fruits like watermelons and musk melons are a rich source of water and nutrients. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

So in the summer, we must opt for foods that are harvested during the summer as they can help you achieve the nutritional requirements for the season. 

What foods should you eat this summer?
Summer foods essentially help restore the fluids in the body, are cooling, and give you a much-needed energy boost. These are all the foods you must consume this summer:

  • Cereals: Whole grains and millets like jowar, barley, rice, brown rice, ragi, foxtail millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet, buckwheat, and arrowroot flour are cooling cereals that must be incorporated in your diet.
  • Pulses: Pulses like moong, matki, masoor and cowpea (or chawli) are more summer-appropriate than other pulses because they are more cooling in nature.

    dal
    Having a bowl of pulses daily is a must. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Fruits: A varied variety of cooling and alkaline foods which help the body cool down are harvested in summer. This includes mango, watermelon, muskmelon, jamun, lychee, oranges, sweet lime, guava, papaya, and banana. All these fruits contain good amounts of water content, fibre, and antioxidants; and act as coolants thus providing energy and preventing dehydration.
  • Dried fruits: Dried fruits especially black currants and raisins are very cooling for our system.
  • Vegetables: The Gourd family of vegetables especially bitter gourd (karela), bottle gourd (dudhi/lauki), ash gourd (kumda), Snake gourd (chichinda), ridge gourd (dodka), pointed gourd (parwal), spiny gourd (kantola/kakoda), apple gourd (tinda), little gourd (kundru), and sponge gourd (turai/gilki) are must haves as they are available only during these times and contain all the necessary vitamins, minerals and medicinal properties that build immunity, fight diseases and keep the body cool.Other vegetables like cucumber, tomato, spinach, lady finger, pumpkin, capsicum and bell peppers, eggplant, lettuce and its varieties, and potato are also healthy to consume and incorporate in during the summers.
  • Rehydrating beverages: Coconut water, lime juice, fruit juices, fruit smoothies, frozen fruit yogurts, sugarcane juice and infused water must be consumed at regular time intervals to keep you energized and hydrated at all times of the day. Fresh herbs like mint can add freshness to the juices, smoothies, and yogurt and also cool the body down.
benefits of coconut water
Whenever you feel the desire to truly relplenish your body, drink the coco up! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Water: Besides consuming hydrating beverages you must also consume adequate amounts of water in order to maintain normal electrolyte balance, facilitate the body’s processes, and cleanse the body.

Include these summer foods in your diet in order to stay fit and energetic. Until next time!

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Jinal Keval Savla Jinal Keval Savla

Jinal is a clinical nutritionist and founder of The Healthy Palate. She is also a certified yoga instructor.