Uncertain is the only way to describe the weather this year. Indian cities witnessed unexpected showers, winter spells and now (expectedly so!) rising temperatures. But the sudden increase in the temperature is not a new phenomenon.
Rather, the increase in temperature is the result of hundreds of years of human activities. Over the years, humans have learnt to adapt to climate change, as they can exist in both - extremely high and low temperatures. But the human body has its limits. Earlier understanding of human bodies and temperature rise estimated the reaction it would have on our health. But the ever-increasing industrial activities have made the futuristic phenomenon a reality!
Recent studies in the field introduce a concept called 'wet-bulb temperature.' It is a measure that combines air temperature and humidity — estimated at 35 degrees Celsius. At this temperature and beyond, as the body naturally sweats to cool the skin due to high humidity, the process eventually stops. Causing the body to continually heat up.
According to previous studies, the Indian subcontinent was identified as a hotspot (literally!) to see regular heatwaves in the coming years. But according to new studies, this extreme humid heat has already begun emerging. Especially in India, as the country borders warm oceans on both sides. Also, the majority of the country experiences monsoon that usher into an already moisture-laden land. All of which leads to high humid heat.
How do we deal with the changing weather?
Maintaining the right kind of diet goes a long way in ensuring good health. Especially in summers, it is necessary to lay focus on the food we eat as maintaining body temperature is essential. Additionally, ensuring that our body stays hydrated is the right way to deal with the increasing heat.
Especially for working professionals, travelling becomes unavoidable and hence taking precautionary measures to combat heat becomes necessary. Additionally, for people stuck indoors, turning on air conditioners only adds to climate change and so finding healthier ways to keep your body cool is important.
The Bridge Chronicle asked Neha Rangalani, Integrative Nutritionist and Health Coach, about eating the right kind of food. We also discussed with her the role of fruits in brazing the summers.
Explaining how fruits help our body in summers, the nutritionist says, "Fruits are naturally sun cooked foods with a good amount of moisture content which helps us hydrate ourselves even without chugging glasses of water. The moisture in fruits, is accompanied by minerals which is the best way to hydrate your cells."
Our body temperatures are also closely related to the food we eat. And fruits are one of the most calming foods to consume during the season. Water and minerals are the essential components of fruits. As a result, they are easy on the gut. "Because of this, fruits do not cause any major irritation, bloating or acidity. They also help to balance pitta, which causes excessive heat in the body. Consuming fruits leaves you feeling light and refreshed. Thereby keeping your body cool and happy," said Rangalani.
Apart from fruits, there are other foods that one must definately consume during summers. Nutritionist Neha says, "One must consume watery vegetables such as cucumbers, tomato, peppers, zucchini, greens such as spinach, mint, celery, as these are loaded with water and hydrate us beautifully. One must also focus on electrolyte-rich hydrating liquids such as coconut water, lemon water, Jal jeera, kokum sharbat or aam (mango) Panna to make sure dehydration doesn't get better of you!"
But since most fruits are sweet, people are often worried about the increased sugar intake. To that, Rangalani answers, "Fruits are natural sugars that not cause an imbalance in your blood sugar levels. Instead, they further heal the liver and replenish the liver and muscle glycogen stores helping you balance your blood sugar levels with you skip meals or hungry for long hours. Try to eliminate refined sugar as much as possible but keep the fruits going."
People with diabetic conditions are often concerned if eating fruits will affect their sugar levels. To which the nutritionist says, "Yes!! People with diabetes can eat fruits to improve their liver health, cleanse their body and to bring the sweetness back into their life."
As summers set in and the country witnesses a resurgence of Covid-19, eating the right kind of food becomes essential. Fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals that are important for your body to maintain immunity too. Hence to better adapt to the changing weather, altering your diet is the right way to accustom your body to the changing needs.