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When the mercury levels rise day by day and you start feeling tired, sweaty, thirsty and drained out at regular intervals, then all you want is to take a dip in the water. Isn't it? But, staying in the pool all day long is not a practical solution. What you really need to do is eat and drink healthy to provide nutrition to your body, energize yourself and also keep dehydration and summer-related health issues away.

Meanwhile, what is also amazing about summer is the fresh produce you get in the local market. There are plentiful of nutritious and tasty fruits, vegetables, fragrant herbs and even natural cooling drinks available. So, it is important that you eat foods that are seasonal, easily digestible and that help keep your body cool. Keeping this in mind, I have listed some healthy summer foods and drinks below. Do check them out and include them in your diet regularly.

1) Tender Coconut Water
If there is a way to quench thirst, stay hydrated and beat the summer heat, then consume tender coconut water. It is definitely one of the best summer drinks provided by nature. In India, tender coconuts are usually collected in heaps and sold at roadside corners. You would also get it at fruit juice stalls and supermarkets. 

This nature's cool drink is rich in vitamins, minerals and electrolytes and offers some amazing health benefits. Resolving your stomach issues (which usually arise in hot weather), regulating bowel movements and increasing blood circulation are some of them. Also, tender coconut water has zero added chemicals and preservatives. So go natural, go healthy and cool down your body with this low-calorie drink. 

2) Cucumber

A popular fruit (yes ..not a vegetable) that can be eaten raw is cucumber. They are refreshing, cooling and one of the healthiest foods to have during summer. These crunchy vegetables are said to contain around 95% water and are enriched with proteins, Vitamins K, C and E, potassium, magnesium and a good amount of fiber. The presence of high water content keeps the body well-hydrated while the fiber content helps keep constipation at bay.

One of the best healing foods to consume during summer, you can relish cucumbers by adding them to salads, sandwiches, smoothies and even healthy cucumber-based soups. 

3) Curd and Yoghurt

In the Indian subcontinent, curd (also called 'dahi' in Hindi) is a go-to food for many. It is delicious, nutritious, soothing for the stomach and the perfect cooling food to be consumed during the hot weather. 

Curd is traditionally made at home, by natural bacterial fermentation of milk and hence a wonderful food to improve digestion and cure a few stomach infections. Boosting immunity, strengthening bones and aiding in cardiovascular health are some other health benefits of curd. 

What is also great about this lip-smacking food is that it can be used in a variety of ways. You can consume it as buttermilk, sweet lassi, smoothies and as 'raita' (accompaniment during meals). You can also use it to prepare curd rice, curries and even fast food items like dahi vada, dahi puri and mishti doi. Hmmm...a delicious summer superfood indeed 😋.

4) Water Melon

In Ayurveda, water-based foods like cucumber, coconut and watermelons are highly recommended for scorching hot days. Watermelons for example are naturally sweet and contain around 91.45% water. This makes them incredibly hydrating during the hotter months. This seasonal summer fruit is also loaded with antioxidants and Vitamins A & C, which gives you a satisfying and cooling effect after eating it. 

Now whenever you feel like snacking in between meals, enjoy some slices of this thirst-quenching fruit. You can also have a fresh glass of watermelon juice to fill you up and for a super refreshing effect in an instant.

5) Bottle Gourd

This might not be your favorite vegetable - but bottle gourd, commonly known as lauki, ghiya or dudhi/doodhi in India is a popular vegetable during summer. It is high in water content, a good source of calcium (hence helpful for bones) and rich in essential minerals, dietary fiber and Vitamins A, C and K. Bottle gourds are also low in calories and offer multiple health benefits like preventing constipation and flatulence, aiding digestion, promoting weight loss and regulating blood pressure.

Since bottle gourd is a cooling food and enjoys the ability to remain fresh in the fridge for quite a few days, it finds its place in many Indian recipes. You can drink freshly made bottle gourd juice in the morning or enjoy light lauki soup to aid weight loss. You can team it up with dals to make curries and sabzis. You can also make and relish delicious desserts like doodhi halwa and lauki kheer.

6) Lemon Water / Lemonade

It doesn't feel like summer until you have a glass of fresh lemonade. Popularly known as
nimbu paani in India, this quintessential summer beverage is easy to make and very tasty to drink. Besides this, your favorite lemon drink will also add a dose of Vitamin C to your body, boost your immune system and rejuvenate your skin. 

So if you are bored of drinking plain water and want to add flavor to it, just squeeze half a lemon in a glass of water and mix it with sugar and salt and drink it up. You can also add mint leaves and spices to make the taste more exciting. Don't miss - Nimbu pani | Shikanji | Lemonade Recipe

7) Summer Fruits

Summer brings a plethora of fresh fruits to the Indian market. Mangoes, litchis/lychees, jackfruits, watermelons, muskmelons, palmyra fruit or ice apple (commonly called tadgola in India), sapotas, grapes, jamuns (Java plums) and papaya are easily available. These summer fruits are very tasty, refreshing and provide ample nutrition to the body. Since these fresh fruits are loaded with water and numerous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they play an important role in providing hydration, boosting energy and thwarting heat-related illnesses. 

Mangoes, also known as 'the king of fruits' in India are a favorite summer fruit for many. Its color, smell and tasty flesh make it a sought-after fruit in the country. Similarly, melons and litchis are also widely eaten. These and the above-mentioned fruits are eaten fresh or can be consumed through juices, milkshakes, smoothies, fruit salads, ice-creams, etc.  

Meanwhile, if you looking for seasonal and organic fruits, herbs, vegetables, grocery and gourmet foods and other daily necessities, then check out Amazon Fresh. They offer these produce super fresh and at great deals and same/next day delivery. 

8) Green Leafy Vegetables

Though eating green vegetables throughout the year is good for your health, it is highly recommended during summer. Fresh green leafy vegetables like spinach, amaranth leaves (also called rajgira leaves in India), kale, mint, coriander (also called cilantro) and celery, in particular, are good. These green leafy vegetables have good water content and are an excellent source of folates, dietary fiber, minerals, Vitamins A, K and C and antioxidants.

Besides being highly nutritious, green leafy vegetables are also versatile. You can use them in making green juices, healthy smoothies, soups, salads, dals, dry sabzis and gravies. You can also add them in making your favorite wraps and sandwiches.

9) Aam Panna

Summer means the availability of mangoes in India. It is also the season when we tend to drink more, to prevent tiredness and dehydration. And a popular Indian summer cooler that is made using raw mangoes is aam panna. Typically, made from boiled raw mango pulp, sugar (or jaggery), water, salt, roasted cumin powder and mint leaves (optional), this sweet and tangy drink is flavorsome and beneficial to the health. 

Aam panna (or aam jhora) is a thirst-quenching drink and a good source of Vitamins B & C, potassium, calcium and iron. This refreshing beverage is known for its heat-resistant abilities and is also quite useful in treating gastrointestinal issues. The best way to consume it is to prepare fresh and drink it. However, if you are bored of making them, then you can try instant aam panna sachets that are readily available in the market during this time.

10) Sugarcane Juice

A drink that is yummy and very good for your tummy during summers is sugarcane juice or commonly known as ganne ka rass in India. If you have ventured outdoors on a hot afternoon, then there is nothing better than consuming a glass of this chilled beverage at roadside kiosks.

Sugarcane juice is a naturally sweet beverage and an instant energizer. It is a good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron and is known to ease the digestive system, overcome bad breath and also help maintain the electrolyte balance in the body. If you want to flavor your sweet sugarcane juice a bit further, then a dash of lemon juice and ginger does the trick. 



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