Drinks for a refreshing and energizing summer to stay hydrated

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Summer is here! Sunshine is here! Vitamin D in the most natural form for the taking! You can smell the beach air and hear the sound of the children gleefully playing and shouting in the park. Delightful sights and sounds that bring back those gloriously happy and carefree times of life! Good riddance to those heavy winter wears, now safely packed off for another six months at least.

But, wait! Summer also brings with it possibilities of heat stroke, rashes, and boils and most, importantly, dehydration.

Thanks to the high temperature and humidity, your body loses water in various ways. Through the skin in the form of perspiration, through the kidney as urine and stools, and through the lungs as you exhale water vapor. Along with water, essential salts and minerals are also lost. So, it is important to replenish the lost nutrients as soon as possible.

Symptoms of dehydration
What happens when you don’t compensate for this loss of water through drinking? Symptoms may vary from dry skin, acne and yellow urine to diarrhea, stomach ache, headache, dizziness, fluctuations in blood pressure, and muscle cramps. The body begins to develop imbalances; in severe cases, the condition could, even, become fatal.

It is recommended that humans drink an average of two liters of water a day. Of course, this can vary based on factors such as your physical activity levels, geographical location, climate, age, and gender. So, if your daily routine includes playing sports, dancing, and trekking, you need more water than someone who, usually, stays indoors. Pregnant and lactating mothers also need to intake more water than others.

In a bid to staying hydrated in summer, you tend to reach for those aerated drinks in the refrigerator. They seem to satisfy both your hunger and thirst and that sweet tooth that is in most of us. However, don’t fall for the fancy packaging that is a ruse to disguise the low quality of contents inside it. The unfortunate truth is that these drinks are, essentially, devoid of any real nutrients.

So, what is the best way to quench your thirst in the scorching heat? Here are some health tips for the summer season to stay hydrated.

How to stay hydrated in summer
Water quenches thirst like nothing else. You may drink it in its liquid form and/or intake it through fruits, vegetables and other items in your diet. Watermelons, grapes, oranges, strawberries, pineapples, cucumbers, spinach, bell peppers, and so on, have large quantities of water in them.

While water does not have a perfect substitute, variety is the spice of life. So, juices, shakes, smoothies and other beverages are good ways to supplement water.

1) Tender Coconut water
Right up there next to water, coconut water can almost substitute it. Its sweet taste helps to substitute the sodas and colas. Unlike the sugary drinks, the sweet taste does not have the effect of making you thirstier!

Benefits:
Coconut water is a rich source of potassium.
It helps prevent dehydration, fatigue, and stress.
It is a pitta-pacifying drink.
Not to mention it gives you the refreshing and relaxing sense of being in a beach setting!

2) Lime juice or lemonade
The very sight and smell of a sliced lemon awakens and energizes you. Add some salt and honey to the lime juice for that sweet and sour combination, and it will stimulate your taste buds even more. This citric juice can refresh you instantly even when you are in a lethargic mood!

Benefits:
It helps your body secrete digestive juices, preventing indigestion.
The acidic nature of lemon helps remove dirt stuck to your teeth. It also promotes fresh breath, making it ideal for oral hygiene.
It boosts your energy levels, without increasing the calorific content.
It helps replenish those essential salts lost through perspiration.
Unripe lemon is vata and kapha pacifying, while ripe ones are pitta and kapha-pacifying foods

3) Buttermilk – Curd drink
A tall glass of buttermilk is just what the doctor ordered for staying hydrated in summer. It is one of the simplest and most effective ways of cooling your body. The curd is, after all, a staple diet in India. All you have to do is dilute it, and add some salt to it, and you have a refreshing drink to help battle the outside heat. You could, also, add spices like cumin seeds powder and curry leaves to flavor it.

Benefits:
It helps settle any indigestion issues you may be having by detoxifying your system.
It is a rich source of calcium, Vitamin B12, and potassium.
It also helps eliminate headaches and nausea.

4) Kokum juices
Take this health drink on a hot summer day and feel refreshed instantly – inside out. Though kokum heats the body, it acquires cooling properties when candy sugar or jaggery are added. It not only quenches your thirst but also satisfies you without making you feel heavy.

Soak dried kokum fruit in water for 1-2 hours. Mash and strain the water, and keep it aside. Add candy sugar, black salt, roasted cumin powder to the leftover kokum fruit and cook on low flame, till the sugar melts. Then, add the kokum water, and boil the mixture for another 5-6 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool. Strain it. You can add chilled water to this mixture to get relief from the heat.

Benefits:
This juice is suggested for digestion issues, arthritis pain, and stomach ulcers.
It is a good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Ripe fruit balances vata and kapha.

5) Watermelon juice
If you ever wanted to eat water or drink fruit, watermelon is what you are looking for. You can’t, quite, be sure if you are eating or drinking watermelon! After all, every bite contains 90% water! But, watermelon juice has a way of reaching every hot nerve in your body, instantly cooling you – physically and mentally.

Benefits:
It helps relieve fatigue, and stress.
It is also good for relieving headache on a scorching hot summer day.
Since watermelon is rich in fiber, it is a good digestion aid. It helps flush out toxins.
Note: It is best to take only watermelon, without combining it with other fruits

Quick health tips for the summer season
Carry a water bottle whenever you leave the house.
Drink water every half an hour or so, when you are exposed to severe heat.
Wear loose, cotton clothes that allow you to get enough air.
Protect yourself from the direct rays of the sun – with an umbrella or sunshades.
Avoid fried and sweet items, as they make you even thirstier.
Work out in the early mornings or late evenings to avoid being exposed to the sun at its fiercest.

6) Sugarcane juices
a universal favorite of those in tropical climates, where this grass grows. As India is one of the largest producers of sugarcane, this juice is available ubiquitously. To enhance the flavor, you can mix different spices, lemon, mint leaves and ginger; it will spur your taste buds.

Benefits:
It contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
A cold glass of sugarcane juice can help energize you instantly.
It helps relieve stomach upsets and constipation.
It is cooling in nature, and balances, both, vata and pitta, though not the best choice for a kapha person.

Note: Sugarcane juice is difficult to make at home because of the apparatus required to squeeze the juice from the stem. It would be advisable to source this juice from a hygienic outlet to ensure your energizing drink does not became a potent glass of jaundice! Also, do consume it fresh, and in moderation.

7) Bael Serbet or Wood apple juice
Bael or wood apple juice is a great coolant and can, effectively, keep you hydrated in summer.

Break open a bael or wood apple, and extract the pulp with the seeds. Pour a couple of glasses of chilled water, and leave it aside for at least an hour. Soak about 200 grams of jaggery in water and leave it aside, till it completely dissolves. You can now mash the wood apple, till it completely mixes with the water. Strain the seeds and remaining pulp out. Add the jaggery water to the strained juice. Blend the mix, if you prefer it smooth. You may add some black salt, fresh mint or lime juice to this, according to your taste preferences.

Benefits:
Its fibrous nature helps relieve constipation.
It is a digestive aid.
It boosts the immune system.
Note: Bael is, usually, already sweet, so you can, also, skip adding jaggery.

8) Smoothies
You can try any combination of seasonal fruits and leaves and whip up a creamy and lip-smacking cold beverage to beat the heat. Try an avocado smoothie or a peach and pineapple smoothie.

Benefits:
Fruit smoothies are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
They help boost your energy as well as immunity.
They help balance your doshas.

9) Cucumber juices
Summer is the best time to be as ‘cool as a cucumber.’ Perhaps you have only ever seen people put cold cucumber slices on their eyes to reduce puffiness? Or eaten cucumbers in salads? Cucumber juice is also a popular refreshment. Is this your first try? If it is, you are in for a cool surprise!

Peel, cut and mash the cucumber and strain the contents to enjoy a refreshing drink to cool your insides. You can squeeze some lime juice into this to give the cucumber juice a tangy taste.

Benefits:
It is a rich source of Vitamins K and C, as well as other macro minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.
It is made up of 95 per cent water and hence, prevents dehydration.
It helps cleanse your system by flushing out toxins from the body.
It relieves constipation, acting as a natural laxative.
It is a pitta-pacifying drink.
You can also try some cool water with cucumber slices in it for a similar effect.

10) Aloe vera juices
Most people easily grow aloe vera at home, and so have ready access to the leaves. Carefully extract aloe vera gel from an aloe vera leaf. Add two tbsp. of aloe vera gel with honey, salt, ginger and two glasses of water and blend it. Squeeze the lemon over the mix and stir. Your juice is ready to drink!

Benefits:
With its alkaline property, aloe vera helps balance acidity in the body.
This juice helps hydrate the body, as it increases water content to the system helping your livers and intestines function optimally.
It is a rich source of Vitamin B, C, and E.
It is a Pitta-pacifying drink.

 

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