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14 power foods to keep you cool this summer

Last updated on: May 16, 2012 16:19 IST

Dr Vijai KS Shukla

Dr Vijai KS Shukla, Chairperson, Omega 3 Council of India tells us about the foods we MUST have to beat the summer heat.

It is summer and you, like others, are probably guzzling litres and litres of water! But in the midst of all this to prevent dehydration we are all probably neglecting our diet!

Sure, the body needs water during summer, but what many of us fail to realise is that our bodies require a special summer diet too! Here are some foods that can make your summers cool.

Also read: 12 SUPERFOODS for pregnancy!


Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Food items with high water content should be on the top of your list every time you venture out to shop during summers, as the water content in these foods will help hydrate your body from within.

Onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower and sprouts should be found on your dinner plate this summer as they all serve to cool down your body from within while providing you with the daily quota of nutrition.



Image: If you're a non vegetarian, consider switching to fish this time of the year

For those who feel empty without their regular quota of meat, there is a tasty alternative available in fish.

Fish are not only are cooler on consumption as compared to the red meat or chicken that would have been the preferred fare otherwise, but also have high amounts of fatty acids such as Omega -3 and Omega - 6 which are found in very few other food items such as eggs and some other vegetables.

Tags: Omega

Gooseberry (Amla)

Image: Amla

Not only is amla a great refresher, it also reverses the ageing effects of the strong Indian sun and give you added stamina for gym sessions.

It strengthens the heart, hair and different glands in the body, as well and can be drunk at any time of the day.



Photographs: Wikimedia Creative Commons

If you're prone to skin breakouts or acne in the summer, apricot's can really help you. They provide the body with iron, vitamin C, potassium and fibre a handful to the gym and enjoy them as a great pre- or post-workout snack.



Photographs: Mowgli/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Buttermilk is one of the healthiest bracers in hot summer months as it is the residue left behind after the fat in milk has been churned to produce butter. Glug a glass a day to avoid dehydration and avoid digestion issues.


Cardamom (Elaichi)

Photographs: Rainer Zenz/Wikimedia Commons

Look no further than your cup of elachi chai for an instant cool down. Cardamom, that common Indian spice, is commonly used in Ayurveda for almost any ailment from halitosis to digestion and has wonderful detoxifying properties to effectively cool down even the most hot days.

Tags: Ayurveda


Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/

Nothing elevates work stress more than a malfunctioning air conditioner. So pop some corn. It's a good source of pantothenic acid, which provides vitamin B to lower stress levels.

Boiling corn for a snack or a lunch takeaway as it lowers cholesterol levels and is high in essential carbohydrates.



Photographs: G Patkar/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Skip Katrina's aamsutra adverts and focus on the real fruit.

Chilled mangoes are the juiciest way to cool off, but if you're looking for a bit of spice, try this: Unripe mangoes are a rich source of pectin and when steamed and juiced with cumin (jeera) and salt, they provide an excellent remedy for heat strokes and exhaustion in summers.


Photographs: Peter Gugerell/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Make this shellfish a part of your summer meals. Already established as an aphrodisiac, oysters contain phytochemicals that wipe out the toxins that encourage sweating.

However, remember that these are best consumed fresh and should not be bought from stores where they're sold in bags and bowls.



Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

Traditional Chinese medicine proves soybeans are great natural coolants. Rich in protein, they help prevent nasty summer colds. Add some to caramel custards, kheer or payasam to lower bad cholesterol levels.



Photographs: Luc Viatour/Wikimedia Creative Commons

Kiwifruit is rich in Omega 3 fatty acid. It is relatively easy to find in India and easy on the pocket during summer.


Image: Soups
Photographs: Courtesy

Watery broth soups are an excellent choice inclusion in your summer diet!

Popular soups made of tomatoes or mixed vegetables serve the purpose of cooling your body from within.

Adding 'cool' herbs such as mint or coriander to the soups is another way of ensuring that your piping hot soup cools you down from within.


Curds and Yogurt

Image: Curds and Yogurt
Photographs: Courtesy
Curds and yogurt are a great and healthy alternative to cold drinks and ice-cream as they not only are packed with nutrients, vitamins but also with calcium and also help cool down your body, when the temperatures rise.
Both contain vitamin B which also helps soothe the ulcers, allergies and heat boils that tend to appear during summers, from within.


Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
Be it lime juice, coconut juice, green tea or just plain buttermilk, gulp 'em down this summer to replenish your body of its lost fluids and also to avail of the benefits of the various nutrients and vitamins found in them.

Foods to avoid this summer

It's easy to get carried away by some foods. Some of these are plain tempting, others you think will help you cool off during sumer. Either way, avoid them. At all costs!

Cold drinks and ice cream: Most of us prefer drinking cold drinks or having ice-creams over water, to cool our parched throats during summers. But while the fizzy cold drinks and yummy ice -creams may seem cool, they actually interfere with the body's very own cooling mechanism!

Coffee and alcohol: Coffee and alcohol both act as diuretics -- substances that increase urination, which leads to a loss of excessive water from the body. Plus with additives like sugar and other such chemicals, both coffee and alcohol increase your body's temperature from within.

Avoid fried foods: Junk foods such as samosas, vada-paos, burgers and pizzas contain a lot of oil as they are deep fried. Oil contains fat, which on entering the body increases the metabolism rate and thereby has a thermal effect on the body, increasing its temperature!

So, now that you are armed with the do's and the don'ts of your diet  this summer, we are sure you will go out and enjoy the sun while sipping on coconut water and enjoying a cucumber salad.

Happy summer!

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh