Healthy summer foods to beat the heat and boost health
Summer brings with it fresh fruits and vegetables that are a delight to devour during the intense heat, and they come with the added benefit of being healthy for your body.
It`s hot, scorching and sweaty days and all we can think of is how to keep ourselves cool. People are constantly hydrating, washing their faces, standing under the air-con or eating cold treats and snacks in order to beat the painful heat. However, in summer, one also gets to enjoy the abundance of nature, with access to several seasonal fruits and vegetables including mangoes, melons, and berries being very easy. The fresh produce section in super markets and fruit and veg shops overflows with all sorts of fresh produce, emitting a delightful aroma and covered in a splendour of colours that only summer can bring. And if you opt for organic choices, especially since the produce is mainly seasonal, one may also be lucky to find produce with no additives or chemicals. So every time you crave for something cool, go for a glass of juice instead of that ice lolly, you won’t only be making a healthier choice but also cutting down a lot of empty calories from your daily quota. Here are some foods that are absolutely refreshing to consume during the summer heat, and they come with the added benefit of being healthy for your body.
Iced Coffee and Tea –
There is nothing as refreshing as sitting by the water on a sunny day, sipping on ice cold beverages. A simple cup of coffee with heaps of ice can go a long way in kick-starting your morning. A recent study shows a cup of caffeinated coffee a day helps to reduce the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer by about 10%. Home-made iced tea can also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes as it is rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids. A squirt of lemon juice in the tea helps preserve the antioxidants and makes for a perfect summer drink. Obviously you got to go easy on the sugar intake!
We know for sure that we cannot go without that watermelon sugar high. Dehydration can lead to several additional problems, especially during summer. Watermelons and muskmelons are so high in water content that it helps regulate body temperatures. Staying properly hydrated helps in keeping your memory sharp and having a clear skin. Melons also help with weight loss when coupled with exercise as the high-water content keeps you satisfied on very few calories.
If you don’t believe in counting calories, mangoes are the perfect summer treat. The high iron content in mangoes can help people increase the calcium content in their bodies. As a summer fruit, it is very refreshing and can help prevent heat strokes. It is also high on vitamins A and C which help build the immune system. Mango ice cream made with almond milk also provides for a delicious summer treat without the worry of extra sugar calories, and is totally vegan friendly.
The health benefits of replacing a normal meal with a salad are immeasurable. From kale and lettuce to sprouts – leafy greens are rich in carotenoids which the body converts into vitamin A. This helps in protecting the skin from the harmful UV rays. It also helps in mending dry skin by strengthening the skins defences against the Sun. The best part about salads is that they can be mixed with almost anything from fruits to fish and still taste delicious.
Summer is the juicy season of all sorts of berries that are filled with flavonoids which help the body fight many serious illnesses. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are also known to increase the blood flow throughout the body, regenerating skin and decreasing sensitivity to light, making the skin look brighter and improving texture. This can be critical during the harsh summer months. Berries are also high on fibre, approximately 8 grams per cup.
There is nothing like the taste of fresh corn on the cob on a peaceful summer evening. This handy snack is not just delicious but also rich on starch. It helps in providing the body with lutein and zeaxanthin which are helpful for eye health and the antioxidants present also help in lowering the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration which causes blindness in older people. Just go easy on the butter!
Freshly squeezed juice is a characteristic of a well-rounded summer breakfast. Most fruits available during the summer season work brilliantly as juice. Whether it is the citrus taste from oranges and sweet limes or the sugary taste of watermelons, there is nothing more tropical than a chilled glass of freshly squeezed juice.