The thought of healthy eating probably runs through your mind a dozen times a day. It makes you seriously question that grilled cheese sandwich or the three tier chocolate and butterscotch cake that you conveniently devoured while watching your diet plan fly right out of the window.
Most of us lead lives where we've been inconspicuously sucked into a food routine and are desperately trying to claw our way out of it. Amidst a number of lifestyle problems to deal with, we tend to forget or ignore granny's simple remedy of eating fresh, seasonal produce.
What's so special about eating foods that are in season? They've got twice as much flavour, that extra crunch and are extremely high on vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.
Summer bearings include a lot of green vegetables, melons, peaches, corn, mangoes and other fresh and fragrant herbs. Local markets are at their best during summer, when fruits are abundant, and vegetables are as fresh as can be.
Consuming foods that are not in season may come with a risk of chemicals and preservatives that are applied to fruits and veggies to keep them fresh.
We asked nutritionist Nihaika Ahluwalia to help us create a checklist of the healthiest summer foods and here's what she shared.
Summer's coolest, juiciest and healthiest foods are melons. You can use them in salads, desserts, smoothies, milkshakes and even salsa. They're good for the stomach, propel weight loss and help prevent many common health problems such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and common colds and flues.
Lauki or Bottle Gourd
This might not be your favourite vegetable but it's extremely popular for weight loss. It's rich in calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A, C and folate. The superhero vegetable works well on high blood pressure, keeps the heart healthy and is considered an excellent blood purifier.
Amaranth leaves, rocket leaves, basil and other summer herbs should be tossed in a salad bowl and topped off with a yogurt dressing to make a great summer salad. They create a power house of nutrition and are a great way to lose weight. Bung in fruits, nuts, white meat, peppers, mint or coriander leaves to make a light and lovely meal.
What to drink to beat the heat?
Watermelon Juice: Watermelon is approximately 90 per cent water, so it's undoubtedly the best way to keep yourself hydrated. It helps with digestion and keeps the stomach cool. "Eating watermelon can help protect skin from oxidative stress that contributes to the aging process, clear up acne and brighten a dull complexion" says Niharika. She recommends a glass of ice-cold watermelon juice daily.
Aam Pana - Two glasses of aam pana can help with digestion, constipation and chronic stomach problems like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Make it at home to ensure the use of recommended quantities of sugar and salt.
Mint water with lemon: One glass of strained mint water with two drops of lemon works wonders. It acts as a liver cleanser, boosts your metabolism and helps those with a low appetite.
Barley Water: Have two glasses a day and in case you find it bland, add a drop of lemon or honey for taste. Since barley water is rich in fiber, it prevents constipation and also helps in controlling your appetite.