Eat less, stay light and enjoy summer
Dubai - Experts from the food industry and doctors suggest that the hotter it gets, the more conscious one should become of his or her diet.
As temperatures soar to almost 50 degree Celsius, many of us are either gearing up to travel or take a staycation, therefore it's important we look after ourselves to enjoy these relaxing summer months.
Experts from the food industry and doctors suggest that the hotter it gets, the more conscious one should become of his or her diet as our bodies get more prone to digestive disorders or similar health issues in acute summers.
"Keeping your stomach light by eating less is one of the best tips to stay healthy," said Dr Jayakumar B Kannan, a consultant gastroenterologist at Aster clinic. "It is always advisable to avoid excess quantities of fried, fatty and oily foods. During the summer months, consume food that cool your stomach like yoghurt that contain probiotics and provide relief from acidity. Include items like buttermilk and coconut water in your daily diet."
Talking about the commonly seen eating out practice, Olivia, co-CEO at Hello Chef that delivers healthy recipes and ingredients to people's doorsteps, said: "During summers, people tend to eat out and order food from restaurants more than usual, and cook less at home. It's important to keep having home-cooked dinners most days of the week. Restaurant food overall has more fat, sugar and calories than a home-cooked meal. When you cook your own food, you are more likely to include more vegetables and other wholesome, fresh products in your diet. You can also see exactly what goes in the food, so you'll be able to avoid unnecessary additives, as well as ingredients and spices you might be sensitive to."
Research and development manager Radhika Sil at healthy snack firm Munchbox said: "Keep away from foods which are loaded with preservatives and always remember if you don't understand the label, it can't be good for you. Going by the motto 'eat clean, eat lean and eat green' will help. To avoid dehydration, upset stomach and heat strokes, drink lots of fluids, preferably water, fresh juices and drinks with low sugar over fizzy ones. Include plenty of melons, berries and vegetables in your daily meals. Keep away from fried foods, red meat, foods high in saturated fats and sugars. Instead, opt for low fat high proteins like fish.
For those moments of indulgence and for a bit of a vegetarian protein, Sil said:
"Grab a few fruits or date-based sweets such as energy balls. Flavoured nuts and protein pebbles, which are low in calories, also make for a good snack throughout the day."
Fitness buff and Sharjah resident Jamshid Zafar, 38, said: "In summers, I ensure that I have infused water, which is a mix of lemon, berries, orange slices and mint in cold water. Also I make it a point to have a home-made vegetable shake every day, which is a concoction of cucumber, tomato, carrots, green apple, ginger and kale that keeps me very active. I adopted this cool concoction from martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who fully attributed his speed to these veggie concoctions. Staying healthy is the prime goal of my life and I pay extra attention to all my meals, especially during summer as we tend to get tired, lazy and get prone to falling sick due to the acute heat."
Also, kids can be real fussy eaters. Shirin Mustafa, principal of Kids Paradise Nursery in Sharjah, said she strongly believes in educating young children about the importance of healthy eating. To ensure that this practice of eating healthy foods remains with the child, the nursery hosts a "healthy eating day" every Monday. On this day, the students are introduced to one vegetable or fruit that they are asked to bring from home. During the day, children are taught more about the food they have brought with them and finally they are made to eat the fruit/vegetable.
Nutritionist Nadine Aoun at Medcare Women and Children Hospital advised to have small but frequent, low-fat meals. Apart from staying hydrated, avoiding spicy or sugary food, one must also continue to exercise as the heat is no excuse to be sedentary. Avoid adding toppings, these add a lot of calories sugar and unhealthy fat. You can eat ice-cream but in moderation. Drink smoothies, milkshakes and fresh juices only occasionally as they make you put on weight, and do not help in dehydrations. Instead make water the only beverage during summer."