Muscat – Scorching summer temperatures can sap your energy. But fear not; as the hot months also bring abundant fruits and vegetables that can keep one refreshed and energised. By incorporating fresh and seasonal ingredients, opting for lighter cooking methods, and being mindful of portion sizes, one can create a summer diet that supports well-being, according to expert nutritionists.
Dr Monika Seth, a freelance nutrition consultant in Oman, advises plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and healthy cooling beverages like coconut water, low-fat laban, and lemon-ginger water in summer diet. “Avoid calorie-dense, fat-laden junk and processed food high in sodium, as they act as diuretics.”
Dr Parvathy B Nair, dietician at Badr Al Samaa Hospital, considers summer the season of abundance, with fresh and hydrating fruits that provide essential minerals and fluids throughout the hotter months. “As we enter the hotter months, our daily diet plans should shift accordingly,” she said.
To beat the summer heat and stay hydrated, Dr Monika shared some valuable tips. “Start your day with 1-2 glasses of plain water, keep a bottle on your desk while working, and set an alarm as a reminder to drink water regularly. Opt for plain water instead of aerated beverages, as they can lead to dehydration due to their added sugar, calories, and sodium content. Additionally, for every cup of tea or coffee you consume during the day, drink an extra cup of plain water.”
When it comes to fruit selection, Dr Monika recommends choosing fruits with high water content such as watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, mangoes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, apricots, peaches, plums, papaya, guava, pineapple, and kiwi. “Vegetables such as cucumber, tomato, lime, lettuce, onion, green leafy vegetables, bell pepper, carrot, bottle gourd, pumpkin, green beans, eggplant, and bitter gourd are ideal choices for the summer season.”
Dr Parvathy suggests incorporation of five essential nutrients into one’s summer diet: Vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, broccoli, papaya), magnesium (chia seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts, dark chocolate), potassium (bananas, beans, lentils, broccoli, avocados, raisins, apricots), zinc (cornflakes, yogurt, cashews, pumpkin seeds), and protein (seafood, eggs, dairy products). She emphasises the importance of staying hydrated along with these nutrients “to nourish your body, cell by cell, for a healthy body and mind”.
To prevent indigestion, Dr Monika advises focusing on gut-friendly probiotics like yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut, as well as consuming probiotics found in fibre-rich grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. She recommends eating a well-balanced diet in small portions, avoiding overloading one’s stomach, and taking regular exercise. “Optimal food combinations for the summer season include curd rice, fruit salads, green salads with a bit of protein, and steamed rice with stir-fried veggies.”
For those seeking meat substitutes, Dr Parvathy suggests options like tofu, soy protein, seitan, eggplant, cauliflower, mushrooms, and tempeh to avoid indigestion during the summer season.
(Contributed by Deeba Parween)