Top tips to beat the heat wave this summer: Don’t be tempted by chilled drinks, or ice cream – go natural instead!

By: | Updated: April 1, 2017 11:09 AM

Summer has officially kicked in - and you only have to step outdoors to experience how temperatures have soared! March 30th marked the hottest morning in New Delhi at 38.2 degrees Celsius and it was the day's highest temperature, five notches ahead above the season's average!

In Uttar Pradesh, it had crossed 40 degrees Celsius in places like Agra, Varanasi and Allahabad on the same day.

Summer has officially kicked in – and you only have to step outdoors to experience how temperatures have soared!
March 30th marked the hottest morning in New Delhi at 38.2 degrees Celsius and it was the day’s highest temperature, five notches ahead above the season’s average! In Uttar Pradesh, it had crossed 40 degrees Celsius in places like Agra, Varanasi and Allahabad on the same day. According to a report in the Times of India, the Indian Meteorological Department issued a ‘moderate heat wave’ alert in Maharashtra and two people reportedly lost their lives to sunstroke in Solapur and Aurangabad.

Given the intensity of this heat wave, it makes you wonder how to eat right and stay hydrated especially if you are on the move or your work requires you to work outdoors. Think about business executives, traffic police, construction workers, salesmen, food delivery staff and others – they are at risk of a sun stroke every time they are on the move or outdoors.

Dr. Sandeep Sreedharan, MD, DM, Assistant Professor in Nephrology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi spoke to FE Online, “Last few years have seen an alarming rise in heat wave related health events. Severe volume depletion as a result of heat wave may lead to severe renal failure even in healthy individuals. Extreme heat can also cause potentially fatal conditions like rhabdomyolysis, which results in breakdown of muscles. Hydration is critical. Those who are directly exposed to sunlight during summer have to take extra care. ”

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So, how can they cope with this heat wave sensibly? There is more science to eating right this summer than we think.

Dr. Sandeep Sreedharan recommends, “Drink water whenever thirsty. Dizziness, black outs, confusion – these are the red flags to watch for as it may require medical attention. Lemon juice, fruits like watermelon and pomengranates are good. Soda, tea and coffee may increase diuresis (urine formation) so avoid it. Avoid spicy food and high protein diet like red meat at this time. Fruits like mango are also not advised.”

We also reached out to health and nutrition experts who shared their ”stay cool” tips that may not have been on your radar earlier:

Shonali Sabherwal, Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Chef, shared her recommendations with FE Online, “I recommend fresh fruit juices and water based food to beat the heat wave. People/professionals think they should be drinking a lot of water in summer because of hydration levels; however drinking a lot of water is actually not good for the kidneys, the kidneys are forced to work overtime and push this water of the body, which depletes you of energy. Professionals have to kick-start their day with a healthy breakfast and fructose by mid-morning – which can preferably be a fruit; more often they should do a whole grain. Remember, give the body more complex carbohydrate sugar (from whole grain, vegetables and fruit) sugar during summer – it will stop you from snacking too while at work.”

“An intake of water based food is critical at this time, so is having complex carbohydrates which can include millet, brown rice, rotis. For lunch, vegetarians can include sprouts and non-vegetarians can include fish in their diet.”

What about snacking on nuts to waive off hunger pangs on the move?

“Nuts are a healthy option but they add a lot of calories. I recommend that you include seeds – for instance, pumpkin seeds,” reminds Shonali Sabherwal.

“Don’t be tempted to down another chilled drink or ice cream to beat the heat as something at a cold temperature will not cool you down. The cooling effect of these foods is very temporary and after 15-20 minutes, the body responds to the heat loss by increasing blood flow to the cool region – thus brings the temperature back to normal,” Kavita Devgan, nutritionist, weight management consultant and author of ‘Don’t Diet! 50 habits of Thin people’ told FE Online.

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Most of us know that there can be no ”ideal food chart” for any season. India is a vast country and every state has its rich and diverse food heritage and customs that vary from season to season. However, some food combinations work well to beat the intensity of temperatures and typically, these are specific to local conditions. For instance, in south India, people pack items such as curd rice, tamarind rice and lemon rice for lunch.

Kavita Devgan also recommends increasing one’s intake of local fresh fruit drinks such as coconut water, nimbu pani, kokum, bael, sherbat, aam panna, sattu and butter milk.

“Have an extra glass of water for every 30 minutes you spend out in the sun. Spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine can heat up your body internally, so avoid. Stick to smaller portions and keep munching on a fruit or a water vegetable like cucumber in between meals. Fried foods are harder to digest. Also skip excessive additives, preservatives, and taste enhancers. Go natural – your GI system will thank you for this,” Kavita Devgan added.

To beat this heat wave, go natural in your food and drink choices and take care to stay hydrated always!

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