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Summer is the favorite season of the year for a lot of people. The long warm days are perfect for indulging in outdoor activities and you get to wear whatever you want to without having to worry about freezing your ass off. And who doesn’t love sipping on some chilled lemonade by the pool or gorging on grilled burgers?
But the hot weather also comes with its own set of problems- heat exhaustion, dehydration, stroke, and all the fun stuff that comes with it. There’s a lot you can do to prevent yourself from heat-related illnesses, so you don’t have to worry about your summer being ruined as long as you’re proactive.
Eating right and staying hydrated throughout the day is the first step you need to take to stay healthy in summers. If you have only ice-cream and fizzy drinks on your mind, you’re headed for trouble, then probably going to pass out in a pile of sweat somewhere.
We compiled a short list of fruits and veggies to help you stave off heat exhaustion and have one hell of a delicious summer.
Watermelon is 90% water which makes it the perfect summer fruit. But watermelon is more than just water; it is packed with vital nutrients too.
Like plenty of other fruits, watermelon is a good source of vitamin C. It also contains vitamin B6 that helps your body in various ways, including balancing your hormones, reducing water retention, and strengthening your immune system.
The giant fruit is also rich in potassium- a mineral which is essential in maintaining the water balance of your body and in regulating blood pressure. Watermelon also has antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene. While beta-carotene keeps your eyes healthy and fights infections, lycopene neutralizes free radicals that are responsible for the development of cholesterol, blood vessel disease, cancer, etc.
Another important antioxidant and amino acid present in watermelon is citrulline. This compound can be converted to the amino acid arginine by certain enzymes. The combined effect of both citrulline and arginine benefits your heart and immune system.
If you’re looking for the perfect summer vegetable, nothing can beat cucumber. With 90% of it being water, snacking on some slices will rehydrate you instantly and keep you feeling cool and refreshed. Cucumber also acts as a diuretic and increases the flow of urine, thereby helping flush toxins and free radicals out of your body easily.
Cucumbers are rich in potassium and low in fats, calories, and sodium. Including cucumber in your diet can keep your weight gain and blood pressure in check.
Cucumbers have a moderate amount of vitamins A and C, and antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein, and zeaxanthin that prevent free radical damage. The lignans pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and secoisolariciresinol present in this vegetable help prevent cancer of the colon, breasts, uterus, ovaries, and prostate.
Additionally, the high amount of vitamin K in cucumbers helps strengthen bones by promoting bone-mass building or osteotrophic activity. Cucumbers are also rich in silica which keeps joints healthy and connective tissues strong.
Seasonal berries are nothing less than nature’s jewels. They have a high water and fiber content and are low in calories, making them an excellent summer snack.
Berries are also rich in vital antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Munch on any of your favorite berries and enjoy the many benefits.
- Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and help improve overall health
- Gooseberries have a higher percentage of dietary fiber and can prevent constipation, colon cancer, and heart disease
- Cranberries prevent harmful bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract wall and may also inhibit bacteria associated with stomach ulcers and gum disease
- Raspberries contain an effective antioxidant called ellagic acid which can enhance eye health and prevent macular degeneration
Another fruit rich in water and that won’t require you to be coaxed into eating it is tomato. Not only are tomatoes tasty, but they are also a nutrient-dense food packed with all things good.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals like potassium, manganese, and molybdenum. They also have ample amount of dietary fiber, and loads of the antioxidant lycopene that can flush out free radicals and prevent cancer and heart disease.
Eating tomatoes can lower your blood pressure, keep your blood sugar under control, reduce damage caused by smoking, improve your vision, and help in many other ways.
Remember to Drink a Lot of Fluids
Drinking fluids can prevent you from getting dehydrated in the hot weather. So drink as much as you can whether you’re at home or outside. Make sure to drink more fluids if you’re exercising or if you tend to sweat a lot.
Nothing beats water when it comes to keeping you hydrated. Aim to drink at least 2 liters of water a day. Sip throughout the day and don’t wait to drink until you feel thirsty. Learn to distinguish between hunger and thirst; more often than not, you’re mistaking thirst as a hunger pang.
Stay away from sodas and sugary drinks as they do more bad than good. Watch your intake of caffeinated drinks too as they can dehydrate you.
Keep in mind that it is better to eat fresh fruits than drink fruit juices. If you do buy fruit juices or get free samples of drinks or squashes, ensure they are sugar-free or have less sugar.
While summer is supposed to be all fun, taking care of yourself is of utmost importance. So eat the right things and you’re sure to be fit and ready to take on the heat this summer!