'Shake' Up Your Diet as Kathiri Comes Calling - The New Indian Express

'Shake' Up Your Diet as Kathiri Comes Calling

Published: 29th April 2014 07:19 AM

Last Updated: 29th April 2014 10:22 AM

Milkshakes and mangoes. If you believed that a nutritionist or a dietician would never ask you to gorge on these two things, guess again. Aeons ago, every time Agni Nakshatram set in, people had just one simple antidote to survive the unrelenting May heat — drink water by the paanai-(pot)-ful. Cut to Kathri 2014, arguably the hottest period that the city will suffer, and things haven’t changed too much — nutritionists and doctors still advise people to keep their bodies hydrated. But given how diets and food habits are constantly evolving, a number of changes are needed to keep your body feeling swell, next month.

“Old people and children will not want to stick to a solid food diet when it’s this hot. But that’s all right,” explains S Muthulakshmi, a nutritionist who also manages the Qua Nutrition centre at Anna Nagar. Before you think of starving them, here’s a suggestion that’ll make everyone happy, “The trick is to give them calorie-dense liquids like thick shakes to compensate for not eating solid food. This means strawberry milkshakes and date shakes could work very well to ensure they get their nutrients,” she says, “It’s tough, but it’s a lot better than getting into tiffs with kids over their thirst for liquid food.”

So liquids are great, right? Not all of them. At least not the aerated kind (and this includes a chilled beer). “We generally tell people to steer clear of alcohol during summer, because it tends to deplete the water content in the system. The same holds good for aerated soft drinks and soda,” explains Sheila Swarnakumar, chief dietician at Frontier Lifeline Hospital in Mogappair.

Coming back to good old H2O, there are several ways to get your daily fix (2-2.5 litres per day) without carrying bottles around. “Water-based fruits like watermelon and muskmelon are a great option,” says Sheila. Watermelon in particular, is a good choice as it’s 92 per cent water and also contains essential nutrients that add to the body’s energy levels, “When your intake of fluids increases, then the heat won’t wear your body out very quickly,” she says.

And if you’re not a ‘fruit’ person, then you can always turn to a few choice vegetables, according to Global Health City’s chief nutritionist Dr P V Lakshmi. “They say that leafy vegetables are good in summer, but gourd varieties specifically can really improve your water intake while you’re eating lunch,” she says. Tomatoes are another excellent, but not-so-popular, way of getting a little extra hydration.

Another liquid that every nutritionist harps on as a ‘must have’ for summer is the bane of most young kids’ diets — milk! “People can have a glass of cold milk two to three times a day and it will immediately bring the heat in the body down,” reveals Muthulakshmi. But if you’re not a fan of creating your very own ‘white revolution’, then you can always make do with milk derivatives like yoghurt, lassi or even buttermilk. And as always, serve chilled for best results!

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