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october 2012

Make It A Diet For Any Season

Ishi Khosla 
Seeing yourself through changing weather is not easy if you are fussy about the food you eat. Changing temperatures - of not just the transition from winter to summer but even travel across geographies - can have its nutritional pitfalls for you. Plenty of fluids, fresh fruits and vegetables along with some simple rules can easily help you beat the heat, stay cool and fit, if it is a case of soaring temperatures.
Beverages are essential to stay hydrated. Whether they are part of a meal or in between, a refreshing drink can help you rejuvenate just when you begin to wilt.

Just like choosing your food, the choice of your drinks can make the difference between how you feel and how it affects your body’s water balance.

Some herbs are known to be ‘pickme- ups’, others like coffee and alcohol may be dehydrating. The ideal drink is either pure drinking water or those that provide health benefits and replace minerals and electrolytes with few calories from sugar and no preservatives, chemicals, and preferably organic.

Drinking Between Meals
Many of us are unsure as to whether it’s fine to drink beverages with meals. The truth is that there is no need to separate beverages from solid foods, rather, sip in moderation. It is not advisable to drink copious amounts of water or cold drinks along with meals as it has been shown to suppress gastric secretion and impair digestion. A plain glass of room temperature water or some green tea or soup are fine with meals; better still, a squeeze of lime or lemon can enhance iron and calcium uptake from food, besides adding Vitamin C.

How much should one drink?

  • As per recommendations, many would be guilty of not drinking enough. It is true that an adult body requires an average of about 2–2.5 litres (8-10 glasses) of fluid daily to make adequate urine and stay in balance. Based on the recommendations that 1 ml of fluid is required to metabolize 1 calorie, this figure may vary with seasons and individual needs. This includes beverages, soups, milk and dals.
  • Thirst may not be a reliable indicator of your fluid needs. Inadequate fluid intake could lead to dehydration. Some of its early signs are poor concentration, lethargy, fatigue and dry mouth. Chronic fluid insufficiency can lead to hyper-filtration in the kidneys leading to renal disease or stones.
  • Women following weight loss diets may need extra servings of low calorie fluids. However, those suffering from renal disease or heart failure must strictly regulate their fluid intake and thereby their beverages.
Your Choices
  • Vegetable and fruit juices like litchi, watermelon, mango, traditional sattoos, chaach, coconut or lime water and herbal teas are loaded with electrolytes, minerals and antioxidants, which help to fight diseases. They have healing and restorative properties and make simple natural ways to enhance health and vitality.
  • Bael and rose sherbet, lemonade, mintade, aam panna, barley or chana sattoo, jeera-hing lassi, smoothies, kokum water, thandai, litchi juice, jamun juice, cucumber and mint soup and chamomile tea are great coolers, if you are talking of hot climes.
  • When calorie counting, go sugar free and use alternative sweeteners that taste just as good! Green tea and jeera dhania paani are especially useful in weight loss.
  • Boost your immunity with the green power in cabbage, spinach, lemon, coriander, lauki and garlic cocktail. These go well beyond hydration to immune boosting, detoxifying and cleansing tonics.
Ishi Khosla is Clinical Nutritionist and Director, Whole Foods India, New Delhi.