Hello, Health

Five summer smart foods to indulge in this summer

With the summer heat bearing down upon us, it is time we switched to these five summer smart foods that are great on the palate and for the health.

 |  Hello, Health  |  6-minute read |   06-04-2019
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Summer is onto us and we need to change how we eat ASAP. We need to tailor our plate consciously and eat foods that can help us handle the rising mercury with least damage. Below are my favourite summer foods that I ask everyone to focus on to pass the hot trio of April-May-June happily.

Tangy Tomatoes

Why?

Tomatoes are low in calories (a medium tomato has only 35 calories) but give you 40% of the vitamin C and 20% of the vitamin A you need for the day.

High levels of lycopene (a powerful antioxidant) in tomatoes helps prevent the LDL (bad) cholesterol in the bloodstream from being converted to oxidised LDL that can form plaques in arteries and increase the risk of heart attacks. Lycopene also decreases the risk of prostate and other digestive tract cancers.

main_gazpacho_getty-_040619021127.jpgIndulge in a gazpacho for the refreshing and healthy intake of tomatoes. (Source: Getty Images)

Quick Serving Ideas:

Feeling stressed? Try a nice cup of Gazpacho. This Mediterranean cold soup is delicious and refreshing — a perfect summertime meal served with bread. Put one clove of garlic, half onion, half deseeded and chopped capsicum, three cups of pureed tomato, one tablespoon olive oil, one teaspoon white wine vinegar, half-a-teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon pepper in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Chill in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

Or enjoy a classic Italian salad — sliced onions, tomatoes and shredded cheese tossed with a little olive oil.

Perfect Papaya

Why?

Deliciously sweet with a soft, butter-like consistency, it is no wonder the papaya was reputably called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus. Once considered quite exotic, they are now found everywhere.

main_papaya_reuters_040619021236.jpgEnjoy this “fruit of the angels” as a salad this summer. (Source: Reuters)

It contains papain — an enzyme that helps digest proteins — and is a rich source of antioxidant nutrients like carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate, besides the minerals — potassium and magnesium, and fibre. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer.

Quick Serving Ideas:

Mix diced papaya, jalapeno peppers and ginger together to make a unique salsa that goes great with anything.

Slice small papaya lengthwise and fill with fruit salad.

In a blender, combine papaya, strawberries and yoghurt for a cold soup treat.

Yummy Yoghurt

Why?

Not so long ago, yoghurt was considered something only health food junkies ate. Now, it is a dietary staple for many who enjoy the taste, convenience, low calories, and, yes, health benefits. Yoghurt contains about 30% of the recommended daily value in calcium and should be added specially to the diets since most adults do not drink milk regularly. Yoghurt — in addition to protein and calcium — is high in live active organisms called probiotics.

main_yoghurt-reuters_040619021402.jpgThe pot of dahi in your fridge is what you need to keep your tummy happy and healthy. (Source: Reuters)

These can boost your immunity, prevent yeast infections, and keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy.

Quick Serving Ideas:

Eat a fresh fruit salad with a yoghurt dip

Combine low-fat yoghurt and any fresh spring fruit for a great smoothie.

Concoct a breakfast parfait with layers of yoghurt, sliced fresh fruit, and crunchy cereal. 

Marvellous mango

Why?

"Time to tango with the mango"

There has to be something right with mangoes for they have been part of the diet in India for more than 4,000 years. Mangoes have some big advantages over other fruits. They contain more fibre than most which help you curb your appetite. They are slightly steep in calories (about 95 for a medium fruit), but low in fat and sodium, contain no cholesterol, and have more beta-carotene (a powerful antioxidant that is good for a healthy immune system and helps repair the cell damage) than any other fruit. Mango is also a great source of vitamin C and is also high in bioflavonoids.

main_mangoes_reuters_040619021458.jpgThe king of fruits is named aptly for the burst of flavours and the rich variety it offers. (Source: Reuters)

Potassium is another important mineral this fruit delivers. The body needs potassium to help regulate blood pressure and heartbeat, but most of us don’t get enough.

It is also perfect comfort food.

Quick Serving Ideas:

To make a mango mousse in a blender combine 2 mangoes, 1 banana, 1 cup yoghurt, 2 tsp honey, 6 ice cubes, and 1 tsp vanilla extract until smooth. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Pour into individual dishes and serve.

Combine equal amounts of pureed mango and chicken broth, a little lime juice, and jalapeno, if desired, in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Serve with stir-fried vegetables or grilled meats.

To make a mango lassi in a blender, combine 1 mango, 1 cup yoghurt, 2 tbsp sugar and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

Wonderful Watermelon

Why?

Totally fat-free sweet, juicy watermelon is packed with some of the most important antioxidants in nature. One cup of watermelon provides 25% of the daily value for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene — 11% of for vitamin A. watermelon is rich in the B vitamins necessary for energy production — a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of magnesium and potassium. Since it has a higher water content and lower calorie content than many other fruits (a whole cup of watermelon contains only 48 calories), it delivers more nutrients per calorie — an outstanding benefit!

main_watermelon-gazp_040619021635.jpgWatermelon: Have it as a fruit or as a gazpacho, watermelon is the sweet sans the fats. (Source: Getty Images)

Quick Serving Ideas:

Purée watermelon. Swirl in a little plain yoghurt and serve as refreshing cold soup. Mix with thinly sliced red onion, salt and black pepper makes a great summer salad.

Make a Watermelon Gazpacho. Process half cup of watermelon along with the 2 cups orange juice and2 tbsp olive oil, in a blender until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, add 1 diced cucumber, 1 small diced onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 3 tbsp fresh lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Puree watermelon chunks, then freeze this juice into colourful and tasty "pops"- everyone will love them as a cooling snack.

Cut melon lengthwise. Cut edge of melon in saw-tooth design with a sharp knife. Scoop out centre leaving about an inch of watermelon fruit intact. Fill the watermelon half with all the prepared melon balls. Decorate with strawberries and mint. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Chill and serve. 

Also read: Cinnamon: The spice that adds soothing warmth to food, body and soul

Writer

Kavita Devgan Kavita Devgan @kavitadevgan

The writer is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).

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