As the days of summer progress, it may seem increasingly difficult to escape the sweltering heat. However, help is as close as the garden, the nearest outdoor market kiosk, or the produce department of the neighborhood grocery store.
During this slower-paced season, nature provides an abundant and colourful array of seasonal summer fruits and vegetables which are simply superb for lowering body temperature enabling everyone to stay cool and refreshed.
Next time the warm weather dampens your appetite and robs you of your ambition to cook, try these easy taste-tempters which will nourish you as well as help you keep cool:
* Watermelon: it is high in vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin A and antioxidants. It is fat-free, cholesterol- free and low in sodium and calories. Since it is 80% water, it will quench your thirst and keep you hydrated.
* Cantaloupe: it gets its orange coloring from beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. It is a good source of vitamins C and A and has 3 times the potassium found in watermelon.
* Berries: delicious berries contain compounds related to aspirin which reduce inflammation and alleviate the effect of sunburn.
* Cool water : at least 8 glasses a day are recommended. You can make your own pop by adding a fruit concentrate to sparkling soda water.
* Avoid coffee as well as other drinks containing caffeine and also alcoholic beverages. They act as diuretics and will flush necessary fluids from the body.
* Fruit: any fruit is beneficial in summer because of they all have a high water content. Besides melons and berries, snack on apples, grapes, pears, cherries, apricots, plums, peaches, mangoes, papaya, tomatoes and citrus fruit. They are both cooling and act as laxatives. They will help the body cool off and also act as a cleanser.
* Vegetables help lower body temperature when the heat soars. The best varieties are cucumber, radishes, lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens which all contain a significant amount of water. Toss them into a summer salad or wrap them in rice paper to create veggie rolls. Fresh herbs such as mint, lemon verbena, or lemon grass will add an interesting tang and aid the cooling process.
* If you like even more flavor, use one of the light varieties of spritzer dressing.
* Puree and chill your favorite vegetables and herbs to create a cooling gazpacho soup. Don’t be afraid to add spices to enhance the flavor. Chili peppers, garlic, cayenne, ginger and other pungent seasonings will cause you to sweat. As the moisture evaporates, it will cool your skin.
* Prepare as many meals as possible without cooking. If you must cook. steaming or boiling are preferable to frying. Try to do any cooking in the early morning.
* Avoid heavy fare such as bread, red meat, cheese, ice cream, cookies, cake. and junk food. Do not overeat or eat late in the evening if you wish to avoid restlessness and nightmares.
Warm weather requires some adjustments to one’s regular routine: wake up earlier to take advantage of the coolness of the morning; take a nap after lunch when the temperature is the highest; go for a walk after sunset.
Summer is the time for vacation, relaxation, restoration and renewal. Eat smart, eat light, and take full advantage of seasonal summer fruits and vegetables with which nature gifts us.