As summer has arrived with scorching heat, it’s important to maintain body temperature with the help of naturally cool vegetables and fruits that can help us in beating the heat and nourishing our body with the chunk of essential vitamins and minerals along with ample amount of water content to stay hydrated. There are certain seasonal fruits and vegetables that contain high water content, are easy to digest, mostly alkaline in nature and have a cooling effect on the body. Most important of them are discussed below:
CUCUMBER: It is one of the most hydrating food items in summers as it contains 95 percent of water content in it that should be part of our daily salad, dressings, juices or can also be used to make refreshing raita. It acts as a natural coolant in our body, light on digestion and even good for our skin. It hydrates our body due to its high water content and loaded with essential vitamins such as Vit A, C and folic acid and minerals like potassium, magnesium and manganese. It also contains good amount of fibre content that improves our digestive health and has other benefits too. These are good sources of phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
LEMON: Lemon can be squeezed in salads, dressings, summer beverages such as lemonade, smoothes, shakes, iced tea etc. and fruit salads. It is rich source of Vitamin C along with little amount of Iron, calcium, Vitamin B6, potassium, Magnesium and dietary fibre. It prevents from dehydration, boosts immunity, act as antioxidant, rejuvenates the skin, relives from indigestion and constipation. It acts as a blood purifier and regulates blood pressure. Lemon a day can keep heat stroke away.
COCONUT WATER: Coconut water is a refreshing drink that can nourish our body with splash of various vitamins and minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, calcium and little amount of iron. It provides only 19 calories per 100 gms and also helps in maintaining electrolyte balance inside the body. It is easily available these days in abundance. Apart from being a coolant, it has many other health benefits. It acts as an antioxidant, good for kidney and heart, lowers blood pressure levels, last but not the least refreshing source of hydrating our body.
BOTTLE GOURD: Bottle guard contains good quantity of water content that is 90-95% and act as a natural hydrating agent in our body. It is loaded with many vitamins and minerals essential for our body. As a vegetable or in juice form it is very beneficial for weight loss, diabetes, sleeping disorders, indigestion, urinary infections, heart related problems, constipation, acidity and several hair problems. It can be consumed in various different combinations like with amla juice, lemon, beet root and can also be taken in the form of raita.
SNAKE GOURD: It is commonly known as ‘padwal’or ‘chichinga’. This vegetable creates a cooling effect in our body with its good amount of water content. It helps in stimulating various body fluids and relives dryness. It contains B complex vitamins, manganese, copper and iron. It also lowers fever, beneficial in diabetes; prevents heart ailments, helpful in detoxification of the body and good for maintaining respiratory health. It can be consumed as vegetable or in the form of juice to cool our body.
PUMPKIN: Pumpkin is another summer cool vegetable that hydrates and gives a soothing effect to our body. It also has beneficial effects in regulating blood pressure and digestion problems. It has high potassium and fibre content that helps in maintaining blood sugar levels inside our body. It is good for skin related problems, low in calories, contains Vit A, Vit C, iron, magnesium and Vit B-6. Not only this vegetable but its seeds are also beneficial. Pumpkin seeds contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and act as an antioxidant inside our body. This combination is good for our liver as well as heart.
MELONS: Melons are one of the tropical fruits with high water content (more than 90%) and can be eaten in the form of fruit salad, smoothes, dressings, fresh refreshing juices, shakes and mocktails. It is high in fibre content and has several important nutrients including Vit A, Vit C, Vit B-6, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Melons are low in calories and can be beneficial for weight loss purposes as they provide instant fullness to the stomach and gives feeling of satiety.
BITTER GOURD: Bitter guard is rich in various nutrients, low in calories and have good water content in it which makes it very apt for maintaining appropriate weight and good health. It is powerhouse of essential nutrients (sodium, potassium, dietary fibre, protein, Vit A, Vit C, calcium, iron, Vit B-6 and magnesium) and helps in controlling diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels, detoxifies the blood and beneficial in skin related problems, improves digestion and enables good vision. Apart from this, it also has some medicinal uses such as treating malaria, fever, wounds and worm infections.
(The author is a Dietitian )