It’s finally that time of the year. The sun is out, schools are shut, vacations have been booked and everyone has started working out in a desperate attempt to attain the perfect summer body. But the summer season is also accompanied by many health woes such as dehydration, dizziness, heat stroke, fatigue and lethargy and a lot of them can be prevented just by eating and drinking the right things.
What are superfoods?
While there’s no one single definition for superfoods, the general idea is that they are a rich source of antioxidants, polyphenols and substances that protect our bodies from diseases and cell damage. Consuming them regularly is known to reduce the risk for chronic diseases, prolong life and those who have them could be healthier and fitter.
According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, Shilpa Arora, “One myth I’d like to bust about superfoods is that they can be simple foods with super nutrients and don’t have to be something exotic or imported from overseas. They are just foods with very high nutritional value and can be found even at your nearest grocery store. Don’t get carried away by marketing gimmicks and loud labels. Foods that are locally grown and are seasonal are all superfoods.” She suggests that you load up on the following summer superfoods to stay fit and healthy this season.
Bitter gourd (karela), snake gourd (parwal), bottle gourd (lauki) and ridged gourd (tori) are all seasonal stars of summer. They help your body stay cool and hydrated. Snake gourd (parwal) consists of Vitamin A, B and C as well as magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and iodine. It is very good for your heart. Bitter gourd (karela) is a cure for fungal infections and ring-worm. It also helps control hypertension and diabetes, and increases your immunity. Bottle gourd contains a very high water content and helps you deal with the summer heat. It is also useful for treating stomach problems like acidity which mostly occurs in summers. Bottle gourd also balances the loss of sodium, satisfies thirst and helps in preventing exhaustion.
The many nutritional benefits of this humble salad ingredient include hydrating properties, being low in calories and loaded with nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Magnesium. Cucumbers are made up of 95 percent water making them an ideal hydrating and cooling food. Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in promoting brain health.
3. Coconut Water
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside coconuts. It shouldn’t be confused with coconut milk which is high on fat and oil. Coconut water is rich in potassium, it is cholesterol-free and low on calories. Due to it’s amazing hydrating abilities, it has been dubbed as the “Mother of all sports drinks” and it is perfect to sip on during the hot, scorching summer days. It is naturally refreshing and energizes you.
Melons are extremely popular during summers not just because of their sweet and refreshing flavour but also because of their nutritional value. Watermelons consist of about 12 percent fibre and are an excellent source of Vitamin C and A. Muskmelons are known for their ability to help reduce hypertension, improve vision, control diabetes and boost immunity. Throw them in salads, blend them in shakes or just eat them raw but you must include them in your summer diet.
5. Watermelon Seeds
Not only the fruit, its seeds too can be consumed during summers. Watermelon seeds are a perfect substitute for unhealthy snacks that can lead to unnecessary weight gain. They contain magnesium, folate and iron. They are low on calories but filling. You can dry them and then roast them for a smoky flavour in a drop of olive oil with some cinnamon or sea salt.
The abundant supply of vitamins and nutrients provided by these foods is nothing less than extraordinary. They do a great job of keeping you healthy and nourished.