Ayurveda teaches that our bodies and minds are affected by the various seasons and the changes occurring in them. Many of our natural body processes slow down in the summer. To ensure your best health during the summer, here is a summer diet plan and lifestyle guide to help you adjust to this seasonal change for optimal health.
Here are a few ways your body goes through changes in the summer.
How Summer Affects Your Body
You Sweat More
You sweat more in the summer even if you wear little clothing. Water passes very easily through your body.
This could lead to dehydration if that waters not replaced. You can start feeling dizzy, tired, confused, or irritable after dehydration sets in.
Let the problem persist, you may experience a higher than normal heartbeat, rapid, shallow breathing, sleepiness, and even fainting.
Your Body Naturally Slows Down
As the summer heat raises your body temperature, your brain notices. It tells your muscles to take a break and slows down other internal processes.
You might find yourself getting tired and wanting to rest more frequently. As your body slows things down, your metabolic process lowers.
This means you might not find yourself as hungry in the summer as you were just a few months ago. While it's okay to skip a meal every now and then, you can't go day after day without getting nutrition.
Your Water Weight May Rise
If you sweat more in the summer, why are you more likely to retain fluid than in some other seasons?
The reason has to do with your body's survival response. It notices extreme heat and understands you'll be sweating more. It becomes less efficient at removing fluids from the body because it thinks you may need this water later.
This can be frustrating. You might think it would be easier to lose body weight in the summer because you're sweating all the time. But since your metabolism slows down, you might find it harder than usual to burn fat and excess weight.
Your Allergies Wake Up
If mother nature wakes up in spring, she is alive and well in summer. This is true regarding many plants that can trigger seasonal allergies.
Aside from sneezing, watery eyes, weariness, and other symptoms, these summer allergies also cause inflammation.
There are a few things you can do to naturally fight inflammation.
Turmeric is a powerful, natural health booster with excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Add turmeric to your meals or take a daily supplement.
Drinking green tea will keep you hydrated and fight inflammation at the same time.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in wild-caught salmon and other deep-water fish can help you battle the inflammation which accompanies summer seasonal allergies.
Healthy Summer Diet Plan
Foods that Support Your Body's Summer Needs
You are a product of nature. When nature changes, your body changes as a response.
This means you should be eating more of certain foods during the warm summer months to support your health and well-being.
These foods will:
- Fill your seasonal nutritional needs
- Help keep you hydrated
- Provide other mental and physical health advantages
The following foods will help you avoid the fatigue and chronic lack of energy many feel during the summer.
Include More of These Fruits and Vegetables in Your Summer Diet
Because you sweat more in the summer, you'll need to replace lost fluids with the following water-rich foods that simultaneously provide essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
These are some of the most water-rich foods made by mother nature. They are also full of the essential minerals and nutrients your body needs to help you stay healthy during the summer.
- Watermelons – 96% water
- Pineapples – 94% water
- Peaches – 90% water
- Apples – 85% water
- Grapes – 85% water
- Blueberries – 84% water
- Strawberries – 82% water
- Blueberries – 80% water
- Cantaloupe – 80% water
- Oranges – 80% water
- Cucumbers – 96% water
- Tomatoes – 95% water
- Spinach – 93% water
- Mushrooms – 92% water
- Broccoli – 90% water
- Brussel Sprouts – 90% water
More Foods for Summer Health
Along with the water-rich fruits and vegetables, eat more of these for the best chance of being the healthiest “you” possible.
Nuts and Seeds
Seeds and nuts are an excellent source of healthy protein. They have the essential fats your body craves and are full of dietary fiber.
Both nuts and seeds are versatile in the kitchen too. You can crush them and add them to many recipes, make nut butter, or sprinkle them on your salad.
Eating a handful of nuts every day is a smart nutrition practice. Chia, pumpkin, flax, and sunflower seeds, and almonds are good choices for summertime health.
Keep These Healthy, Long-Lasting Oils on Hand
Coconut oil has the highest flash point of any cooking oil. This means it doesn't lead to oxidative stress like many vegetable oils.
Coconut oil additionally has a naturally long shelf life.
So does olive oil. These two oils have healthy fats that everybody needs.
You can mix your salads with a little coconut or extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Use either of these oils in place of butter and spreads that are highly processed.
You can make a healthy trail mix using many of the foods we just listed. Trail mixes are portable and long-lasting. Having them around means you'll reach for this healthy snack in the summer months rather than for some unhealthier, processed alternatives.
Here are some of our favorite trail mix recipes:
Popsicles, Slushies, and Milkshakes
You can make healthy summer milkshakes, slushies, and popsicles without the unhealthy ingredients they usually contain.
Use coconut or almond milk instead of dairy milk in your milkshakes. Swap in maple syrup, organic agave nectar, or coconut sugar instead of refined sugar and other processed sweeteners.
Blend or juice your favorite fruits for a healthy flavor boost. These cooling drinks can help you battle the summer heat without your health paying the price.
Avocados in Anything
The humble-looking avocado is one of the world's greatest superfoods. It improves your health in so many ways. No fruit has a higher level of monounsaturated fatty acids, which help remove heat from your blood.
Whip or mash fresh avocado with extra-virgin olive oil. Add your favorite spices and herbs. Chill and serve with organic multigrain chips or kale chips.
Avocados are easy to digest, as well. This means you don't raise your body temperature by overworking your digestive system.
Bananas are also easy on your system. They digest and process quickly, and they are what is known as astringent food. They cause your tissue to shrink as you eat them, which allows your body to absorb more water. This cools you down to your core.
Chilled Nut Butters
Chill nut butter and spread it onto chopped celery slices. Slather it on apple and pear slices. Chilled nut butter is a high-protein health booster that can cool down the heat of the summer.
Chilled Tuna Fish Salad
Mix canned tuna fish with avocado-based mayonnaise. Add diced onions and celery if you like. Serve this healthy tuna fish salad chilled with large lettuce leaves for wrapping.
Dice and slice your favorite fruits and vegetables. Chill them in the refrigerator with a head of lettuce. Make sure to add tomato and cucumber, spinach and mushrooms, melon, and broccoli.
These foods are over 90% water. Eat one of these chilly summer salads every day when the sun is high in the sky and you'll keep hydrated as well as cool.
Cold Wraps Instead of Traditional Sandwiches
Traditional sandwiches are served on bread which is often highly processed. This makes your digestive system work overtime and raises your body temperature. Why not turn your sandwich into a wrap?
Choose your favorite protein source. You can use lean poultry, grass-fed beef, or wild-caught seafood.
Steer clear of deli meats which are highly processed and full of additives. Then simply add all your favorite fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Flavor with a little olive oil and vinegar or avocado-based mayo as a condiment. Wrap in chilled collard green leaves or the leaves of bibb and butter lettuce. This makes for a cold and refreshing, healthy alternative to a traditional bread-based sandwich.
In the summertime, it's best to avoid sour, spicy, hot or pungent foods.
Dehydration can start quickly, and problems can go from mild to serious if the problem isn't addressed. This means that besides eating plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables, you need to be drinking plenty of water during the day.
You also lose body water naturally through your intestines, skin, urine, and even your lungs. If you exercise (and you should regularly) there's even more water leaving your system.
Here are a couple of ways to make sure your body gets all the hydration it needs for you to be as healthy as possible during the hottest time of the year.
How much water do you need?
Most people need roughly 1 gallon of water to pass through their system each day. If you are larger or exercise strenuously, you need to put even more water through your system.
Fill a BPA-free water bottle and sip on it all day. Drink chilled, filtered water or herbal teas flavored with fresh fruit and veggies to keep your body hydrated.
Instead of just tracking your mind, start recording how much water you drink.
Keep a Hydration Journal
Record exactly how many ounces of water you drink, and when. You want to space out your consumption throughout the day. One gallon of water (3.78 liters) equals 128 ounces.
You're going to get some water in the food you eat, but don't try to measure that.
Infuse Your Water to Make It Healthier (and Better Tasting)
Drinking a gallon of water each day can be boring. One simple way to make water more nutritious and flavorful is to add your favorite fruits and vegetables.
Chop, slice, and dice cucumbers, citrus fruits, and other fruits and veggies. Add them to your water for a healthier, more flavorful drink.
Limit These 6 Dehydrating Drinks
The following drinks naturally cause you to expel water. Limit your intake of the following 5 dehydrating drinks during the summer and keeping hydrated won't be difficult.
- Energy drinks
- Sweet, sugary drinks
Alcohol is a diuretic. That means it makes your body lose fluids by forcing you to go to the restroom more often than normal.
Coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks are diuretics as well, though not on the level of alcohol.
Drinks with lots of sugar and other sweeteners keep your body from absorbing water.
The best drinks to stay hydrated for the summer are filtered water and herbal teas.
These practices can keep you hydrated and healthy during the summer months.
It is important to make changes in our diet and lifestyle during each new season.
Summertime is a season of high energy so we need high energy-producing carbs that are naturally available in this season. Follow this healthy summer diet plan to not only lose weight but gain immunity.
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The information presented here is in no way meant to serve as medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of any kind, please consult with your physician.