Summer is just around the corner. Even though nights are cool now, the sun is so hot during day time. If peak summer is on, it remains to be seen as to how we are going to bear the heat. The naturopathy practitioner Dr.Jeeva Sekar explains about the various foods and drinks that we need to take as well as to avoid during summer so as to protect our general health. Let us see the recommendations given by him in the foregoing essay.
During summer, our body temperature will also vary according to external heat and hence it will equally be considerably hot. According to that it is imperative to take in certain special foods to beat the heat in our body. At the same time, certain foods and drinks need to be avoided. Otherwise, we will face problems such as throat dryness, thirst, difficulty in passing urine, stones in kidney, irritation in the anus, general stomach ache, constipation, Madras eye, measles etc. To avoid these problems, we must necessarily eat and drink certain foods and drinks meant for summer. It would be better to drink more water including certain natural drinks.
Naturally available water can be taken by both the children and old people - 3 lt. per day while others can take 5 lt. per day. Here the water represents cold water which must be natural in the sense that it is preserved in mud pot, preferably with white khus khus, khus khus and sarsaparilla. This water has lot of medicinal benefits for our liver, stomach and kidney. We will be able to avoid problems and ailments related to these organs. Similarly, we should avoid taking cold water from the fridge since it is artificially made cold. Fridge water will increase the body heat instead of making it cool as we imagine. This will lead to headache and cold also. Hence, it is always better and safer to take some rest after exposure to sun and then take normal water.
Particularly, during summer, we should avoid taking ice cream and other cool drinks including curd, milk and cheese. These products will increase the heat instead of making it cool. Curd can be replaced by butter milk in which we can mix small onion, curry leaves, green chillies and salt. Old porridge and ragi can also be taken in order to lessen the heat.
In summer, we can take certain fruits like water melon, cucumber, melon fruit, kirni fruit, orange, lime etc. They can be taken in juice form also. Water melon can be mixed with tender coconut because both are coolants. However, water melon should not be taken more than necessary. Lime or mint juice can be prepared at home and taken. While preparing lime juice, little bit of salt besides sugar can be added to make it healthier. Similarly, dried ginger can be mixed with mint before grinding with water. Little bit of lime juice can also be added with this which is extremely good for health. Mangoes are also good for health. Caution must be observed in terms of quantity.
We can cook and eat bottle gourd, ribbed gourd, snake gourd, white pumpkin, radish etc. which are water-content vegetables. This will facilitate proper urination. Plantain stem juice, poriyal and kootu (mixed vegetables) will prevent kidney related problems. Sesame thuvaiyal will also be useful. In order to prevent irritation in the anus region, we can take yam vegetable and small onion in our food. Nutmeg sprout or soaked in water can be taken to protect our kidneys and lower abdomen. Nongu (ice apple) and patanir (ice apple juice) can also be taken which are available in nature. Country jaggery can be mixed with soaked tamarind and this drink can be taken in hot summer. In the night, we can take poppy powder in milk and take it with brown sugar. This will reduce the body heat and will get us good slumber. Cactus juice has the medicinal benefit of preventing too much of white discharge and gonorrhoea disease among men and women.
We can also mix pepper, cumin, garlic, small onion and dry chillies in gingili oil, heat the mixture for a while and then apply it on our head and take oil bath after half an hour in order to reduce the heat. If it is not possible to smear over the entire body, we can at least smear it on our head and limbs. Similarly, castor oil will be a remedy if we experience lower abdominal pain. We have to smear it on our navel region.
At the same time, it is essential for us to avoid certain food items in summer. For instance, dry chillies, dried ginger, pepper, chinnamon, clove and such other masala items can be avoided so as to prevent heat in our body. If necessary, we can include pepper instead of chillies and ginger in place of dried ginger. Similarly, we can set aside parotta, chappaties and poori which are made out of oil and which will take long time for getting digested. Avoidance of these items will lead to reduction of heat in our body.
It would be better if the non-vegetarians avoid chicken, crab and shrimp which are capable of increasing the heat in our body and lead to stomach aches. These items will deprive us of adequate water content in our body. In line with this, burger, pizza and fried rice including oil-fried items like vada, bonda, bhajji etc. Have to be avoided so that excess heat can be avoided and gastric problem will also be prevented. Dr.Jeeva Sekar has thus highlighted the importance of the proverbial saying, ‘prevention is better than cure’ in this analysis.
(This article written by M Maria Belsin in Tamil has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)