- Summer Tips for Wellness
For many people, summer means fun in the sun. The kids are out of school, summer vacation is on and it's time for outdoor activities like riding bikes. But there is a flip side to summer too. The strength of the body is lost during this period. People feel tired and exhausted during the season due to extensive heat rays of the sun, the watery portion (or Kapha) of the body of people, animals, plants, foods and the entire environment becomes dry and the vata becomes more prominent in the body and the atmosphere.
With the temperatures soaring to 40 degrees, one needs to know how to keep ourselves cool. To keep the body cool, there are numerous options in foods, exercises and lifestyle techniques:
In foods, it is best to eat foods which have a naturally cooling taasir.
Food like barley (jaw) is good for the kidneys and is also very good for cooling the intestine. It removes acidity and discomfort. Water retention is also lesser when we eat barley in summers.
Chana sattu is easily available in the market and can be eaten either as a shake or with lassi (one can also add rock salt and mint leaves for taste).
Rice is the right food to be eaten in summers as it is cooling and hydrating. Rice can be eaten as brown rice idlis, brown rice dosas, and brown rice poha. Besides being rich in iron and calcium, rice is not fattening as well.
Ragi (finger millet) can also be eaten which is rich in calcium and can be made as a mixed atta roti (chapati), or a dosa/cheela.
During summers one should limit the intake of eggs, chicken, fish and all meats. The taasir of such foods is very hot and may lead to pitta disorders like rashes, piles etc. Fried food also being very pitta aggravating should be avoided.
Beverages which are very cooling in taasir include thandai, lassi, tomato and bottle gourd (lauki) juice, cucumber (kheera) juice, lemon water, mango panna, herbal drinks, aloe vera (gwar patha) juice and vegetable juices.
Drink plenty of fluids as dehydration can occur very quickly in the sun. Children and older people are especially susceptible to dehydration, so ensure the whole family drinks small amounts of liquid at regular intervals to keep hydrated.
One must drink the juices of grapes, watermelon, banana, jackfruit, lemon and pineapple. This is to say juices of sweet, cold and easily digestible foods must be consumed.
Chutneys containing mint (pudina), coriander (dhania), onion, green chillies, mango, besides being appetizing are also great summer coolers.
A confusion associated with spicy food is that it increases pitta. The truth is that spices fried in oil may increase pitta because of frying, but dry summer spices used in chutneys actually decrease the pitta of the body.
Cardamom (elaichi), rocksalt, fennel (saunf), roasted cumin (zeera) etc are some of the summer spices that one can use in chutneys.
Yoga being an indoor exercise is great for summer months, especially for people who have to sit for long periods on a chair. Cooling Pranayams called sheetali pranayams help in cooling the body.
Sunshine and warm weather offer a whole myriad of activities. But don't push yourself beyond your physical limits or let overexertion squash your energy. Schedule time to rest, relax and take a nap when necessary.
It is a good time to wear breathing clothes, clothes which can absorb moisture and sweat from the body and release it.
Soft loose cottons and natural fabrics are a good option. Try to avoid wearing synthetic mix clothes and clothes which hug the body tightly specially around underarms and also avoid tight jeans.
Colors should be the ones which reflect sunlight rather than absorb sunlight. All cool shades also are attractive specially shades of blues and green.
Rose, lemon grass and lavender bring a pleasant refreshing aroma to the atmosphere. Mixing some gulab jal (rose water) or lavender with water in a spray bottle and spraying it in the room or on bed sheets makes for a restful sleep.
Keeping a muslin cloth for dabbing the face and spraying it with refrigerator cooled rose water also is a great refresher especially for people returning home in the afternoon.
Any changes in the environment of nature will have deleterious effects on the health of people. So one must adjust and adopt measures suitable for the particular season for maintaining good health.
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