It’s typical of human nature that you want the sun to be blazing hot in winter, and desire to be cool in summer. While the human body is naturally adaptive to changes in weather, and temperature fluctuations; you need to give it a helping hand too. Summer months in India mean that the mercury soars to well above the 35o Celsius. In many places, it shoots to well above 40o Celsius. Under such circumstances, it is vital to remain well hydrated, and avoid heat stroke.
Drink Plenty of Cool Water
There is nothing more refreshing and cooling than a glass of plain water. Drink slowly, rather than gulping down half a bottle at one go. Also, be careful to not drink chilled water, especially if you have just come in from the heat. Ironically, chilled water doesn’t slake your thirst the way cool water does. If you have sweated heavily, add some plain sugar or Glucon D, and a pinch of salt. Ideally, water cooled in an earthenware pot is the best for health, as it cools your body while slaking your thirst. Should you need to commute significant distances for work, keep a bottle of water with you always. Taking periodic sips of water will ensure that the journey doesn’t become exhausting, and you don’t get dehydrated.
Rehydration Plus Nourishment
Just as one tends to feel hungrier in the winter; appetite just flags in the summer months. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to opt for nutritive drinks like milkshakes, smoothies, banana split, freshly squeezed fruit juices, and buttermilk (chhaachh and lassi). Chhaachh typically has salt and finely ground cumin powder which aids digestion and is preferable to the sugar-laden lassi for diabetics. Youngsters might prefer lassi which is laced with rose syrup or Rooh Afza, topped with some fresh cream. Adolescents and young adults might also enjoy drinking badaam milk, i.e. milk laced with sugar and almond paste. Those who participate in grueling physio workouts even in summer, and sports which require a great deal of running around should try and drink date juice or banana split to compensate for the loss of micronutrients.
Try Conventional Wisdom
Yogurt-based drinks work wonders for your health while offering natural cooling. If you live in a particularly hot and humid climate, then try and drink coconut water daily. Alternatively, you can have a glass of good old shikanji (lemon juice syrup) with a dash of ground black salt and a tiny pinch of black pepper powder to draw the enervating heat from your body. Even those who suffer from hyperacidity can benefit from it as the black salt reduces the acid content without taking away from the vitamin C. Drinking water in which palm candy or sugar candy (also called rock candy) has been soaked for quite a while is beneficial for its cooling properties, and in its impact on kidney function. Jal jeera, aam panna (green mangoes roasted on a fire and pulped), sugar cane juice, and even classic thandai cool you without damaging your system.
Be different: Try having a lime sorbet with mint leaves, or pulped watermelon to replenish the water content in your blood. Suffusing plain water with herbs like chamomile, and mint or spices like cumin, saunf (fennel seeds), and ginger are wonderful for your health. Try kokum juice which not only rehydrates you; it helps to fight infections and improves your circulation.
Slake Your Thirst with Tea
Strange though it sounds, when carbonated cold drinks, cold water, and other standard drinks fail to slake your thirst; tea does the trick. Green tea steeped with orange juice and sweetened with honey; cold lemon tea; normal tea with ginger grated into the beverage, with a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of salt; and cold mint tea work wonders. Despite both tea and coffee being diuretics, cold coffee and cold tea help you beat the heat.
Some other options: Youngsters might screw up their noses at the prospect, but barley water and sattu sharbat aid in cooling the body. In places where the sun blazes down on you, adding the paste of poppy seeds to certain sharbats and other conventional cold drinks literally cools the stomach and the brain. It aids better sleep and prevents irritation of the nerves. However, don’t fall into the chilled beer trap if you desire to stay healthy, and have a trim figure.