Summer health and nutrition: here’s what you need to know

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Keeping fit in the summer should be part of our personal and professional lives, and nutrition is an integral part of this objective. Health experts generally stay on top of food-related issues during the season.

But, does summer 2022 different? Certainly. After spending two years in a pandemic, people are planning vacations, social gatherings and weekend dinners. Because of this relaxed attitude, they lose sight of the importance of nutrition. This article will provide easy-to-follow tips to help you keep your health and nutrition in check during the summers.

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Impact of summer on our eating habits

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Are our eating habits impacted by seasonal changes? The answer is yes. As the seasons change, we also tend to change our physical activity levels and eating habits. There is usually a thermal nature to summer appetites. The hotter it is, the more we want to cool down. During the summer, the body needs more water, fluids, and lightly cooked foods to cope with water loss through sweating and to maintain healthy digestive functions. Psychologist C Peter Herman from the University of Toronto supported this claim and mentioned that in hot climates, people tend to eat less and prefer “cooler” foods.

This summer, in India, based on milk ice cream and dairy-based beverages recorded growth of more than 50%, according to a report published May 2, 2022. Due to lockdowns, the closure of local markets and myths linking “cold” to Covid-19 infections, these drinks and ice creams have seen a drop in sales over the past two seasons.

Summer nutrition, however, is not limited to ice cream, Juice and cold drinks. A significant amount of refined white sugar is also present in these foods and beverages, which is harmful to health if consumed for long periods of time.

Summer nutrition is not limited to ice cream, fruit juices and cold drinks. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Top Five Nutrition Tips for Summer

It can be difficult to maintain a Balanced diet in summer, because the temptations are numerous. Whether it’s lip-smacking food on the beach, sweet ice cream, or processed foods, they’re all time-savers in the kitchen. Eating well in the summer, however, doesn’t mean sacrificing tasty foods or avoiding stress.

Water, infused water and liquid foods

Drinking enough water is important. Symptoms of dehydration include headaches, dizziness, dry skin, lips and mouth. Drink at least 2.5 liters of water a day. Use a reminder app if needed. Drink a cold soda with lots of ice and a slice of lemon to avoid monotony. Consider drinking water infused with herbs and fruits like mint, basil, cucumber, pineapple, nectarine, citrus, and berries. Even freezing certain fruits, breaking them into pieces and using them as ice cream can be considered. These are great alternatives to sugary cold drinks or ice cream.

Include foods that are 95% water like cucumbers, watermelon, celery, saladspinach, cantaloupe, tomato, etc. in your diet.

Eat small and frequent meals

Indigestion and loss of appetite are common symptoms of hot weather. On a hot day, people often complain of abdominal discomfort after a big meal. To prevent stomach aches, eat light and less spicy meals. At social gatherings, choose healthier foods. When preparing salads, include plenty of raw seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you have kids at home, keep pre-cut fruit in the fridge to encourage them to eat healthier snacks.

When preparing salads, include plenty of raw, seasonal fruits and vegetables. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Eat variety from all food groups

During the summer, eat balanced and versatile meals. Choose easily digestible foods from each food group. For example, choose lean meat over red meat, skinless fish over oily fish, and low-fat dairy over whole dairy. Eat colorful seasonal vegetables, leafy greens and whole grains for optimal fiber and micronutrients.

Savor refreshing delights at home

Summer is perfect for ice cream, but not all ice cream are good choices. A typical serving of milk chocolate ice cream is high in calories and fat and low in other essential nutrients. It can be avoided by making your own fruit purée and yogurt ice cream using suitable freezing forms. Homemade fruit ice cream is not only healthy, but also a fun activity to do as a family, especially with young children.

Shop smart, dine smart

Remember balanced plate guidelines when dining out. Choose baked, grilled or sautéed dishes. When shopping at the grocery store, be sure to read nutrition labels carefully before buying any packaged food product. Note the list of ingredients, the calories per serving, the presence of trans fats and the amount of salt in each product.

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a variety of meals. Pay attention to your diet. The guidelines above will help you get the most out of the season.

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