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5 body cooling foods for the summer

Last updated on: May 13, 2014 19:49 IST

5 body cooling foods for the summer

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Shameem Akthar

These natural coolants should be on your shopping list this summer.

We drink water to keep ourselves cool. In summer, as the heat peaks, we try to avoid being out in the sun.

We wear caps or carry parasols, and slather on moisturisers and sun blocks to ensure the outside remains as cool as the inside.

We drink juices and prefer ice-creams for dessert.

Yet there are many kinds of foodstuffs that we don’t realise are miracle moisturisers.

They keep us naturally cool from within by increasing the water absorption capacity of the tissues, lock in water levels and help transport the moisture to where it is needed.

They promote the storage of water or water-retaining compounds and fight inflammation/heating from inside.

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, lists five natural coolants that should be on your shopping list this summer.

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Photographs: Alessandro Garofalo/ Reuters

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Pumpkin

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Pumpkin contains beta carotene and promotes creation of Vitamin A, which helps fight inflammation from inside.

Because it is rich in anti-oxidants, it helps fight tissue damage caused by free radicals.

To be cool from inside it is important to maintain tissue tone and health from inside because when tissue is damaged, it leaks water rather than retains it, causing dehydration and drying.

And you do not always have to look to lemon juice for that tart Vitamin C spike in summer. Pumpkin also is rich in Vitamin C, a key ingredient in maintaining health of tissues from inside.

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Photographs: MOs810/ Creative Commons
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Tea

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Both coffee and tea are stimulants, but while the former is drying, the latter is hydrating.

That is because tea contains a whole load of antioxidants that are fast and easily released as soon as it is brewed and courses through the blood, giving you an immediate anti-oxidant boost.  

How does this affect your cool quotient?

When there is DNA damage inside (a natural process of living or working out), then the tissue’s hydrating gradient is reduced. Tea reverses this, thus helping the body rehydrate as and when needed.

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Photographs: Courtesy Royal Albert Collection
Tags: DNA

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Avocados

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This luscious fruit is so rich in anti-oxidants that it is often used as a face pack in its raw form.

The lutein in avocados is a hydrating element that helps lock in moisture. Plus it has potassium which is important for fluid content and its balance within tissues.

When this balance goes awry, there is inner dryness and moisture loss. Vitamin E helps to maintain the tissue’s moisture-holding capacity, and stops tissue damage, which can cause moisture leaks.

It is also rich in Vitamin K, which helps tissue repair and thus maintains tone and integrity, And that, in turn, helps fluid movement within tissues.

But what makes avocado even more of a wonder food is that it helps increase absorption of other key nutrients and minerals that the body needs to maintain proper hydration.

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Photographs: Nikodem Nijaki/ Creative Commons
Tags: Vitamin K

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Watermelon

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Thank god for watermelon! It contains a lot of water, naturally. It has vitamin A and C, which help retain moisture. It also has many anti-oxidants that fight free radicals that cause tissue damage from inside.

If cells are damaged, and their connections are ruined, they are unable to retain moisture well. Instead of acting like a sponge that holds water, the damaged junction make the tissue act more like loose filters that let off all the water, causing inner dryness.

Lycopene in water melon, which gives it the red/pink hue, reverses this. It also has vitamin B which props up the body’s natural moisture barriers, helping it hold on to the water you drink.

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Photographs: Asim Tanveer/ Reuters
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Olive oil

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Olive oil contains hydroxytyrosol, which is a powerful anti-oxidant that helps maintain tissue integrity.

It also contains the other anti-inflammatory nutrient oleocanthal, which helps fight the wrong type of heat inside that causes tissue damage.

The skin’s moisture barrier is protected by these anti-oxidants, which means it helps to trap the moisture inside, keeping you cool from within.

The other super nutrient in olive oil is Vitamin E, which helps to maintain tissue moisture. The natural fats in the oil also work in this direction, preventing tissue damage and preserving the moisture absorption capacity of the tissues.


Photographs: Albert Gea/ Reuters
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