You know summers have arrived full throttle when kids keep the freezer open just to enjoy the cool air, aunties stab you with their pudgy elbows in the market because you are blocking their view of that khoobsurat lawn print and ice lollies become indispensable.
However, where the scorching heat brings out the best of mangoes, lawn and beverages, it also introduces a variety of external and internal discomforts for us Pakistanis. Excessive heat can seriously upset the body, causing irritability, sleep problems, exhaustion and lack of concentration among other things, according to dailymail.co.uk. Therefore, to elude this cycle of self-loathing, take out some time to chalk out a food chart and try consuming these cooling foods as much as possible.
Fruit with yogurt: The goodness of fruits mixed with the cooling potential of yogurt is an ideal combination for breakfast in hot weather. Fruit, which has high water content, will help maintain your body fluid, while yogurts can promote friendly gut bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. Remember, now is the time to overdose on lassi because not only does this extremely Pakistani beverage give you a kick on hot summer days, it also keeps your stomach happy. Do try to get your hands on flavoured lassi this summer or better yet make your own flavoured lassi-cum-smoothie concoction by mixing fresh fruits with some cream and milk.
Vegetables: Avoid boiling or steaming vegetables for too long, as this depletes them of their water and nutrient content. Some readily available vegetables that have high water content are cucumber, tomato, cabbage, lettuce and iceberg, reports livestrong.com.
A baked potato or pasta salad: Carbohydrate-rich foods can help to combat heat exhaustion. British doctors recommend eating regular small, starchy carbohydrate snacks during the day, such as pita bread, to keep your body’s blood-sugar and energy levels even, according to dailymail.co.uk.
Onions: According to deliciousmagazine.co.uk, onions contain a chemical called quercetin, which is believed to have an anti-histamine effect. Histamine is the irritant that causes heat rashes and adverse reactions to insect bites and stings, so eating onions daily may help to ease these summer complaints.
Marinated meats on barbecues: Dailymail reports that marinades reduce the levels of cancer-risk chemicals being produced when meats are charcoaled. Many scientists believe that’s the case because the ingredients in most common marinades are high in cancer fighting antioxidants, which include vinegar, spices and olive oil.
Lemon and mint: Although mint does not cool the whole body down it is cooling on the tongue and therefore tastes refreshing in hot weather. Add a dash of mint in your local nimbu paani and enjoy the breezy taste it brings to beverages.
Mango shake: Even though this wholesome drink is not good for youngsters with sensitive skin, we’d still like to call it the magic potion of summers and one has the license to be a shameless glutton when it comes to binging on mango-flavoured ice cream, dessert and beverages in the sunny season.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.
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