From dry fruits to caffeine, five foods that should be consumed in moderation during the summers
Illnesses like the cold and flu might happen with every season change, but what makes summers particularly difficult for most people is not only the humidity and dehydration but also the heat waves.
Nobody who lives in India during the summer season can argue that staying cool from March to July is a difficult job. Illnesses like the cold and flu might happen with every season change, but what makes summers particularly difficult for most people is not only the humidity and dehydration but also the heat waves.
According to a study published in Scientific Reports in 2016, a rise in the intensity and frequency of Indian heatwaves between March and June has been observed in the last couple of years due to climate change. Another research published in the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2018 reveals that exposure to heat can cause heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heatstroke and death -- apart from making pre-existing chronic conditions like heart, lung and other diseases more severe during the summer months.
Clearly then, your goal during summers should be to keep your body cool and properly hydrated. This, of course, has to be done while making sure that your immune system is strong and healthy, and you’re managing your weight by eating healthy too. However, there are a number of foods which are nutrient-dense and have immense immune-boosting qualities, but eating too much of them during summers can be harmful. The following are five such foods, which you should avoid too much of this summer.
1. Dry fruits
They’re full of fibre, plant proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Every nutritionist recommends that you have enough walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, etc. every day because of the nutritional value of these nuts and seeds and they make for a great snack if you’re trying to watch your weight. But, binging on them can generate a lot of heat in your body, which in turn can cause digestion problems and dehydration.
2. Spices and chillies
Spices are chock full of antioxidants, and chillies (whether they’re red or green) are full of capsaicin. Recent studies, like the one in Temperature in 2016, insist that eating capsaicin increases perspiration or sweating, which in turn can cool the body down effectively. But too much spice, as well as chillies, in your food, can often become an unsuitable combo for summers leading to digestive disorders, skin issues and heat reactions.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant and is found in not just coffee, but also tea, soda, energy drinks and chocolate. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says you must have no more than 400mg of it in a day. If you do consume too much caffeine, especially during summers, it can not only increase the risk of dehydration but can also lead to headaches, insomnia, nausea and stomach upset.
4. Fruit juices
But fruits are a must-have in summers, you might argue. And you’d be right too. Whole fruits are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and are extremely hydrating. But when you make a juice out of them, it concentrates the glucose in already sugary fruits and the drink becomes too sweet. This can add to your waistline, yes, but too much sugar can also cause lethargy, indigestion, etc. What’s more, having an icy slushy or juice can also lead to headaches, summer colds and issues like tonsillitis.
5. Whole grains and cereals
Whole grains are definitely healthy. In fact, the greater variety you consume in moderate proportions, the better regulated your bowel movements and the higher your nutritional intake will be. However, not all grains are made for summers. Pearl millets or bajra, finger millets or ragi/madua are some whole grains which may be too heat-generating for this weather. Instead, rice and barley are perfect summer whole-grain options which have a cooling effect on the body.
For more information, read our article on Dehydration.
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