By Kavita Shyam
They say eat right to move right! There is a growing awareness on making healthy choices in food to remain fit through the scorching summer months. Whether you are a star, a housewife, a corporate traveller, hiker, student preparing for exams or a plain jane college kid; in today’s busy world healthy eating habits, especially during summers is a must-do!
The rise in temperature leads to dehydration, heat stroke, weakness and digestion issues, so what you take in will impact on your overall health. Most food experts or nutritionists emphasise on eating fewer calories, be more physically active and make wiser food choices!
We throw light on a few powerhouse super foods for sweltering summer seasonbesides they keep the lifestyle diseases at bay. SUPER FOODS are nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals.Read on!
Your simple kitchen food items can help you remain cool this summer. Sonia Narang, Nutritionist says, “ Summer is the season in which you need to keep yourself fresh and cool all the time. Therefore, it is important to maintain a good and healthy diet, if you want to enjoy this hot weather.
This season produces the abundance of fresh delicious and healthy foods in the market which will help you beat the scorching heat.Whether you are travelling or planning for a picnic or just enjoying the weather at home, nothing is better that watermelon. It is loaded with enormous health benefits.
It contains almost 90% water and good sources of Vitamins A and C, carbohydrates, potassium and minerals. Always make sure, the watermelon should be freshly cut, wherein take it as a meal.Summer squash is the best options for you as well as for your kids.
As we all know convincing your kids for healthy foods are such a big task but it could be easy now by adding the nice flavor and creamy texture squashes in your diet which is the good sources of vitamin, minerals and antioxidants. It is also best for the students who are struggling for their carriers by giving exams in different states. Adding squash to the salads are a nice idea that you can opt.Be it with a parantha or as buttermilk or as sweet lassi, the curd is loved by everyone.
To make it more interesting you can also try curd veg smoothies. The nutrients present in this are easily absorbed by your digestive system and keep your stomach cool. It works as an energy booster for your body.Like other foods cucumber is also best for cooling your body. It is a good source of vitamin C and other nutrients that will hydrate and nourish the body and soothe the skin. Cucumbers are low in calories and fats which make you stay fit and energized.
Dietician Parul Khurana, SCI hospital lists out a few superfoods for us to help us sail through the difficult months.
She opines, “Super Foods are lower calorie foods with higher than average nutrient on photochemical content.
They are ideal for minimizing the risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. Just like super heroes protect the public, super foods protect our bodies.
Super foods can be very beneficial to travelers and students in particular as travelers needs to be fit while on the move and students who have immense pressures from their studies.
1. GREEN TEA AS MOUTH WASH: Yup, you have read correctly. Green tea has been proven to be as effective a regular mouth wash in preventing tooth decay. Next time you have eaten sugar snacks, don’t forget to scull a great big gulp of green tea and worry less about carrying a bottle of mouth wash.
2. DARK CHOCOLATES TO DE-STRESS: Had a hectic day, don’t worry just go and munch some dark chocolates to help combat stress and relax. The higher the cocoa content the better (always head for 70%). Dark chocolates has the ability to lower blood pressure and also de-stress your mind
3. BEETROOT TO AID EXERCISE PERFORMANCE AND STAMINA: If you are a hiker or planning an exciting adventure, don’t forget to increase beetroot consumption. Beetroot has been proven to aid better exercise performance and enhance stamina due to additional nitrated consumption.
4. GARLIC: It brings up the immunity system besides slowing down the growth of harmful bacteria, yeasts and fungi or cholesterol levels.
5. BROCCOLI: It is rich in magnesium and Vitamin C, so fighting infections and viruses becomes easier with a powerful immunity.
6. QUINOA: A nutritional breakfast, is a complete protein with all essentials amino acids with few carbohydrates and fats. Packed with the goodness of Vitamin B6, niacin, thiamine, potassium, copper, zinc and riboflavin.You cannot discount this one.
7. KALE: It is fibre rich dark green leafy vegetable which looks similar to spinach. It is fantastic for skin and beneficial for body and complexion.
8. NUTS: Delicious with healthy oils, fibre, vitamins, minerals, potent photochemical, amino acid arginine. Almonds and walnuts are ideal.
9. LEMONS: They are an immune booster that have an anti-bacterial properties regularly to aid with cold and fevers
10. GINGER TEA: It helps ease throat and nose congestion
11. CHERRIES: One of the natural food sources of melatonin. Dried cherries and cherry juice works too as the same.
Dr. Vaishali Sachdeva of Freshfalsabji.com suggests the following:
“Good nutrition should be part of your study plan because its going to help you ace those tests. The better the fuel your brain gets, the better you will study. Eat “SUPER FOODS” like proteins from lean meat, fish and eggs, fruits, nuts and whole grains .Have foods that help keep the brain mentally alert.
You should be eating a Brain Food diet long before the night of the exam. Stick to healthier snacks that will not have your blood sugar rapidly rising and falling. Don’t skip your breakfast, even if your exam is later in the day, you need to fuel your brain properly, from the start of the day. Research shows skipping breakfast can lead to a 20-30% reduction in concentration, memory and alertness.”
TOP SUPERFOODS THAT CAN BE INCLUDED IN THE DIET
• AVOCADO (FEED YOUR BRAIN): excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy and low in fructose helps improve blood flow to the brain, which can allow brain signals to travel more efficiently and effectively.
• BEANS (THINKING FUEL): are slow to digest, can provide the brain with a long lasting source of energy. Beans are full of healthy fibre, antioxidants and energy boosting iron.
• BANANAS (MEMORY BOOSTER): Your daily intake of Vitamin B6, for memory and long term brain health.
• BLUEBERRIES: Get a lot of attention because they are full of Phytonutrients, high in fibre and antioxidants. Can help sharpen your brain’s ability to send signals quickly, as well as its ability to store information.
• BROWN RICE (FOCUS FOOD): Its higher fibre content and low GI, keeps you fuller and focused for long.
• EGGS (MOOD LIFTER): important part of healthy diet during exams because not only do they contain high quality protein and fat, inside their yolk is the nutrient, Choline, which is important in the proper functioning of a brain chemical that is involved in memory recall.
• POWERFUL VEGETABES (ENERGY & CLARITY): the darker the color, the higher the concentration of nutrients.
Leafy greens like Spinach, Kale, and broccoli are high in phytonutrients, iron which prevents fatigue, poor mood.
• OATS (POWER YOUR DAY): Full of fibre ,oatmeals are slow to digest & are packed with , some protein, omega -3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium and phytonutrients for improved brain function.
Small amounts of oats in the morning breakfast will sustain you throughout the morning so you aren’t prone to irritability or an energy crash.
• SEEDS ( NUTRIENT PACKED CAPSULES): Sunflower, Sesame and Pumpkin seeds contain beneficial fats, protein, Vitamin E and stress fighting antioxidants besides brain boosting minerals.
• TOMATOES (JACK UP YOUR IMMUNITY): Tomatoes contain Lycopene, an antioxidant that is particularly good for your brain and tomatoes contain high amounts of k, fiber and vitamin C.
• SALMON: Ideal source of omega-3 fatty acids, much needed for proper brain function.
For Travellers she suggests-
“In Summers we need energy giving foods that will boost our metabolism, regulate muscle function and give us instant energy. Before you head out for your trip, take a look at these healthy summer vacation food tips that will keep you energized and feeling you best while you travel.”
• Try having a low fat meal the night before leaving.
• If you are dining with family just order the main course and you will be automatically eating half amount of calories as compared to a full meal.
• Don’t overindulge in greasy chips, choose baked vegetables that have fewer unhealthy fats.
• Carry baked whole grain crackers along on your trip, for fiber.
• Avoid excess sugar and starchy foods specially if you are driving. High carbohydrate meals may improve your mood for a short time, but lots of sugar and starch can make you feel sleepy.
• Keep fermented foods with you, they are the easiest foods for you to digest.
Drink lots of water.
• Walk as much as possible, there is nothing better than walking around exploring places.
TOP SUPERFOODS THAT CAN BE TAKEN WHILE TRAVELING
• BANANAS: they are sweet, travel friendly, and can be eaten on their own or blended into smoothies. They contain vitamin B6 which helps your body produce energy more quickly, also soothe anxiety, which can also make you tired.
• MELONS: Source of Vitamin C, antioxidants like lycopene, a hydrating fruit.
• CHIA SEEDS: Source of fibre and nutrients, they help balance blood sugar levels so energy levels stay stable.
• SPIRULINA: This is a complete protein, it contains all 8 essential amino acids in a easier to digest form than meat or soya protein, so is a great source of protein for vegans.
• CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale and Bok choy are part of the Cruciferous family.
Making these foods a part of your summer diet during travel will help you feel light and stay energized, so that you actually want to get outside as much as possible and enjoy all the beautiful weather .