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When the summer heat is beating down on you it’s important to keep cool and hydrated. And there is nothing better than an ice-cold glass of lassi to beat the heat. A blend of yoghurt and water, lassi is a local smoothie and can be consumed either with salt (namkeen) or sugar (meethi). It is served at several restaurants during the summer and is now considered rather chic.

Lassi contains the following nutrients, which makes it a healthy and refreshing summer drink:

Calcium helps maintain the bones, boost bone mass and assist the body in healing arthritis.

Beneficial bacteria (lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus) improve gut health by enhancing digestion and food absorption, reduce bloating and prevent diarrhoea, constipation and other stomach disorders.

Peptides strengthen the immune system.

Potassium controls blood pressure and promotes heart and kidney health.

Proteins maintain the immune system, repair damaged muscles and help the body heal.

Vitamin B-12 ensures that the brain and immune system remain healthy; it also aids the body in burning fat.

Health experts recommend adding cumin seeds (zeera) to lassi; the spice has strong anti-carcinogenic and free radical scavenging properties, which are believed to heal tumours.

So bring out the blenders and start churning out some healthy, refreshing lassi. For extra flavour and fruity nutrition, add seasonal fruit such as chickoos or mangoes. Or try a cherry lassi if you are feeling extra adventurous.

However, remember that lassi that is made with whole milk has a lot of fat content, so opt for skimmed milk and avoid that additional dollop of cream.

– Beenish Israr
The writer is a PhD scholar, studying Human Nutrition at the University of Reading, UK. She is also a lecturer of Food and Nutrition at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 24, 2012