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Health1Summer is upon us and as the mercury rises, energy levels plummet and bring along many health problems which manifest themselves such as dehydration, fatigue and skin problems. This summer try beating the heat by adding the following super foods of summer to your diet:

  • Cucumbers are the ultimate cool food. With high water content and the presence of cucurbitin, which produces a soothing effect on the body, cucumbers help the body stay hydrated and can significantly reduce body heat, and are therefore refreshing and rejuvenating. They are also a good source of fibre, magnesium manganese, phosphorous, potassium, silicon (the ‘beauty’ mineral), and vitamin A, C and K.
  • Karela (bitter gourd) is bitter but beneficial; this summer veggie with its infamous taste does wonders when it comes to keeping you cool. Along with healing properties that are beneficial to people suffering from malaria and diabetes, karela has cooling properties which can effectively counter the effects of excessively warm foods that cause the body to heat up and manifest as skin problems, a sore throat and constipation.
  • Melons are summer’s hydration heroes; constituting 95% water and five percent natural sugars, melons of all types (cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon) keep the body cool by hydrating it. In addition, the vital enzymes, vitamins and minerals and electrolytes found in melons replenish water and nutrients lost while perspiring.
  • Mint is synonymous with the feeling of refreshment; this leafy herb is usually reserved for flavouring candy and toothpaste but a little sprig can go a long way. The cool and icy taste of mint can actually counteract body heat which is why beverages with mint taste all the more refreshing. It is also a relaxant and soothes irritated skin and relieves digestive issues and nausea. Additionally, it is rich in calcium, copper, fibre, folic acid, iron and omega-3 fatty acid concentrates.

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

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on March 24, 2013.