Summers are in full-swing all over the country with people digging into summer goodies and seasonal fruits. Many people are thinking of losing weight during the these sweltering hot summer months. There are often a lot of queries regarding how much we should actually be eating in summers, how to get rid of dark circles during summer et al. How to deal with digestive issues in summer such as constipation and bloating? Are sugar-rich fruits such as mangoes advisable if we want to lose weight? We hosted celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija for a live session on Instagram to give us some insight into Indian diet tips for summer to help with weight management and ultimately aid us in shedding the unwanted kilos.
Here Are The 7 Best Indian Diet Tips For Summer By Celeb Nutritionist Pooja Makhija:
1. Water And Hydration Is Key
According to Pooja Makhija, hydration is key during the hot summer months. Calling it a 'secret tool' to weight loss, she said that it is also one of the easiest ways to look younger. She recommended having 2-3 litres of water every day especially in hot cities such as Mumbai to tackle problems such as weight gain, dark circles acne, hair loss.
"Even a 2% dehydration in your brain can affect your memory skills, cognitive behaviour, judgement etc, migraine and headaches," said celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija. She further said that it is important not to wait for the sensation of thirst, as by the time your body craves water is the time when it is already 40% dehdyrated. Our body sometimes gets confused between hunger and thirst, which is why hydration can help in satiating hunger pangs as well. So drink up that bottle of water in the summer!
(Also Read: Summer Diet Tips: Desi Foods And Drinks To Naturally Boost Energy)
2. Breaking The 'Carbs' Myth
It is often said that the first thing you should cut out carbs entirely from your diet. Pooja Makhija, in fact, advises against the practice. "Your body is like a car. It needs fuel. Listen to your body, it gives you signs," recommended the nutritionist. She is completely against the obliteration of carbs from the diet. However, she is not one to propagate excess cars and she suggests practicing moderation in everything. "You become what you eat. If you want to become healthy, then you have to eat healthy," concluded Makhija.
(Also Read: Celebrity Nutritionist Pooja Makhija Busts the Biggest Myths About Diet & Nutrition)
Sugar is one of the most redundant ingredients in our diet. It increases chances of weight gain and is also associated with a number of health problems. Just like social-distancing, it is extremely crucial to practice sugar-distancing. Pooja Makhija recommends switching to healthier, natural alternatives to fulfill one's cravings by using stevia-based sweeteners (also known as Meethi tulsi in India) as they are 100% natural and beneficial for weight management.
Pooja Makhija said in the live session, "Nature itself has given us great sweet fruits, mangoes can be a great fruit to eat as a sweet!" She also busted the myth about eating mangoes in the live session. The only caveat she advised was, "Eat your mango, don't drink it. And divide it between meals. Don't eat your dal-roti-sabzi and then eat mango because then you're adding to the sugar count of the total meal. Always eat a fruit as a filler in between meals." She further busted the acne myth around the fruit, saying that mangoes don't cause acne as long as you remember to hydrate.
(Also Read: The One Summer Food That Can Keep Pimples And Breakouts At Bay)
As for some healthier versions or alternatives to sugar, Pooja Makhija says there is no such thing. She believes they are all tricks to lure us into eating sugar by stimulating our palate, since, "The more sugar you eat, the more you will want." However, if absolutely necessary, natural sugar substitutes can be used such as stevia can be used to make a dessert as per the celebrity nutritionist.
4. Drink Up To Good Health
Summers increase our appetite for one thing the most - that is drinks! In the hot summer months it is absolutely essential to hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. There are a number of drinks that can be consumed in the hot summer months without having added sugar in them. Coconut water, kokum water, jaljeera, chaas are some of the drinks that Pooja Makhija recommends. Another drink in summer can be made with Sabja seeds or basil seeds. "I put the Sabja seeds in my first litre of water in the morning. It has a cooling effect in the body," she said.
(Also Read: Celebrity Nutritionist Pooja Makhija Shares 5 Nutrition Tips For Those Working From Home)
5. Eat Light, Cold Meals
In summers, one thing that majorly affects our appetite is the thought of eating hot meals. Somehow, due to the high temperatures hot cooked sabzis and dals don't go down well with our diet or even our digestive system. Nutritionist Pooja Makhija recommends, "For lunch - I just eat Dal, sabzi and chawal with some yogurt. It is my staple lunch. Instead of cooked sabzi, I do a salad and instead of cooked dal I make sprouts. I mix all of these up in one big bowl and have it chilled."
There is another reason to avoid cooked food in summer as most spices have a heating effect on the body. Thus, raw vegetables and sprouts may work better in your regular meal rather than a cooked version of the same ingredients.
(Also Read: Summer Diet Tips: Add These 3 Spices To Your Chai To Stay Cool Naturally)
Another way to eat cold meals is to chill your fruits before you eat them. For example, Muskmelon can be kept in freezer for 10-15 minutes to give a slush-like texture. Mangoes, apples, oranges - whatever fruit you have can be converted into a chilled healthy summer cooler in a similar manner. Lime juice popsicles with cut fruits and water are also a great option for healthy, cold summer food.
6. Handling your mind & body
The mind is linked with the body, and vice versa. Mind and body hold each other together. Both are key to good health and weight loss, as per celeb nutritionist Pooja Makhija. It is absolutely essential to be very gentle with your mind, and take good care of it. "Eat right, exercise often and sleep well to have a good control over your mind and body. Exercise helps your mind slow down, lowers cortisol levels and increases endorphins and cortisol to calm your mind down," said the expert.
(Also Read: Celebrity Nutritionist Pooja Makhija Reveals The Difference Between Good Calories And Bad Calories)
7. Life & Diet Have To Merge
It is very easy to go on a diet for a couple of months and then give it up later to binge on unhealthy foods. Thus, it is important to include food with your lifestyle and adapt it into your everyday diet. Diet is not a one-time process and a crash diet may lead to one-time weight loss only to gain it back with equal speed. "We tend to keep food and life apart. Weave food in your lifestyle. Don't make enemies with food," said Pooja Makhija.
The importance of gut health can also not be understated. The gut is the where it all starts and is key to good health, weight loss and happiness too! "Happiness starts from your gut! Seratonin is released by the gut, and not the brain. If you're eating wrong, your mood automatically dips," revealed the expert.
(Also Read: Drink Mango Lassi, Jaljeera And Other Summer Drinks To Beat Dehydration)
The moral of the story is to use food as a tool and a medicine to enable weight loss and a healthier you. Everything goes hand-in-hand and no change can happen in isolation. If you are able to crack the formula to exercise control over what goes into your body, celebrity nutritionist Pooja Makhija feels that people like her won't even be needed in the first place. To conclude, we quote the expert to say, "Love foods that love you back."