Though summer-friendly foods (link to previous article) can help you get through the worst days of summer, it is equally important to avoid foods that increase body temperature or are diuretic in nature. Stay away from greasy food that is difficult to digest and high-sodium food that cause water retention and bloating. As we wait for the onset of monsoon to relieve us from the scorching temperatures, here are some foods to avoid this summer.
1. Artificially sweetened drinks and desserts
Artificial sweeteners produce the sweet taste of sugar and other sweeteners without the extra calories. Many people drink diet colas and sugar-free desserts thinking it is a healthier alternative. Artificial sweeteners contain sorbitol and xylitol which trick your brain to crave sweet food. Though artificial sweeteners are generally considered safe to consume, there is no real health advantage in consuming them. They are more difficult to break down, unlike sugar, and consuming too much can cause bloating, gas and diarrhoea.
2. Fried food
Fried food such pakodas, French fries, samosas etc. are not recommended during the hot summer days. They are full of harmful trans fats and very difficult to digest in summer. Binge eating fried food can make your digestion sluggish and you very lethargic.
3. Processed food
Processed food such as sausages, pasta meals, frozen pizza, salad dressings, ketchup etc. are unlikely sources of high sodium. They also contain preservatives and artificial flavouring. Too much salt is not good for digestion and is linked to other health issues such as cardiovascular disease, kidney issues and so on. This summer, opt for natural food over processed food to stay healthy.
4. Diuretic food
Foods that increase water excretion from your body are termed diuretic foods. During summer, water is your best friend and it is important to drink water and other hydrating fluids all through the day. Beverages such as coffee, tea, soda and other caffeinated drinks defeat the purpose by removing water and essential salts from your body and making you dehydrated in the process. When the temperature surges this summer, do not reach out for a cold soda, instead have a natural drink such as coconut water or lime water.
5. Sugary drinks
Sugary drinks such as cocktails, mocktails, fruit punch and sodas are packed with sugar and artificially flavoured syrups. If you are on a diet or counting calories, just one drink can wipe out your entire calorie intake of the day. Be judicious when it comes to sweetened drinks, and stick to small servings if you must have a drink.
6. Greasy burgers and hot dogs
Burgers and hot dogs may be summertime picnic favourites, but it is best to avoid them when the temperature is up. Both burgers and hot dogs are full of fats and loaded with sodium, making them two of the worst dishes to have in summer. Opt for healthier food such as leafy salads and corn on the cob instead.
7. Red meat and deli meats
Red meat is notoriously hard to digest during summer. Digesting meat requires the body to expend a large amount of energy. Eating red meat in summer will make you languid and without energy. Deli meats are packed with sodium and are best avoided. Just two slices of processed ham has as much sodium as a bag of pretzels. When the temperatures soar, stick to food that is easier to digest.
If your idea of a perfect summer afternoon is kicking back with a cold beer, you are in for a surprise. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating and is not recommended during the summer. Alcohol is known to increase body temperature, even with just a couple of drinks. If you must drink alcohol, remember to always stay hydrated by increasing your water intake.
9. Potato chips
Potato chips, French fries and other salty snacks are addictive and notoriously easy to over-consume. It’s not for nothing that they say you can’t stop at one. When you eat a bag of chips, you are eating enormous amounts of salt, processed ingredients and oil. Steer clear from salty snacks; choose a fruit instead.
Food, especially cooked meat, spoils much faster during the hot summer days. Even if it is not apparent, the breakdown of cooked food begins earlier when the temperature is high. If your food has not been refrigerated correctly, it is best to avoid eating leftovers. Spoiled food can cause severe stomach distress and other health issues, especially in children.
Eat right to feel great
Good health and strong immunity have been linked to eating right for ages. During summer our body is under stress, and we need to eat the right food to stay healthy. Foods that are highly processed and high on salt must be removed from the diet. Avoid foods that are dehydrating and stock up on natural and cooling food to stay hydrated.
What is your guilty pleasure this summer?