The weather is warming up, and with that, everyone will be taking advantage of the outdoors. For some summers is the time for fun outdoors with pool parties and reunion while for others summer heatwaves can be a nightmare. Well, it’s a fact! Hot temperatures outside can mess with your body in all sorts of tricky ways, this is not oy concerned with a sunburn or sweating. Soaring temperatures are bound to make your digestive system weak and sluggish. It may seem unbelievable, but our tummies respond differently when there’s a change of season. Your routine too definitely needs a seasonal change as it can be pretty harsh on your gut if you don’t take proper care.
What does summer do to your gut health????
As the heat ramps up, our body struggles to withstand hot temperatures and the digestive system becomes slower and weaker. The heat affects our immunity and digestive ability leading to numerous digestive problems. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, food poisoning and loss of appetite are common problems in the hot months.
Hence, it is important to make sure you regulate your eating habits and adapt an appropriate diet and routine during the summer season in order to keep the digestive system running smoothly, else you could feel dull throughout the day.
Tips for better Digestion
There are some simple yet important preventive health tips to keep your gut healthy and to keep your digestive system happy during the hottest months.
1. Avoid dehydration: In hot weather, our bodies try to keep us cool by sweating due to which our body loses a lot of water. So, it is essential to replenish water loss by drinking fluids. Drink lots of water or water-based drinks like coconut water, buttermilk, herbal tea, fruit juices to stay hydrated and to avoid water retention. Make sure you drink enough water.
It is recommended that one should drink half their weight in ounces of water. You should drink two to three glasses of water every morning after you wake up and whenever you perform any physical activity.
Also, don’t wait until you feel thirsty, drink even if you don’t feel thirsty. Drink water at a moderate pace sure you do not gulp down a glass full of water at one go as it may cause you to swallow air leading to bloating and gas.
Sipping warm water throughout the day can increase your digestion. Most importantly, take warm water at least 30 minutes before a large meal as it helps cleanse your digestive system and stimulates the secretion of gastric juice in the stomach. Avoid drinking hot water or ice-cold drinks.
2. Eat timely and healthy: Having a timely and healthy meal is important to kickstart your digestion and get your metabolism boosted. Good digestion leads to a healthy weight and high energy levels.
As per Ayurveda, breakfast plays an important role in stimulating digestion. Skipping breakfast not only attacks digestive health but also invites other health issues as well as weight gain. Hence, never skip breakfast to keep your digestive system on track. Skipping breakfast can also lead to weight gain and other health issues. Hot cooked foods such as boiled veggies and fresh fruits make a healthy breakfast option.
The largest meal one should eat in the day is during lunch when the digestive fire is at its strongest. Similarly, the dinner should also be eaten timely, most probably two hours before you go to bed.
3. Eat smaller, Eat slower: Eating smaller meals and eating slowly is ideal for healthy digestion and proper assimilation of nutrients. In rising hot weather, your body is consuming all the energy to keep your body temperature cool preventing it from heating up. This takes up the energy needed for other body processes, like digestion. Eating slower gives your digestive system time to keep in track with you. Eating smaller portions doesn’t mean reducing your appetite. All you need to do is eat at short intervals.
4. Avoid unhealthy food: We must avoid spicy, fried, acidic food during peak summer. Avoiding these foods will help in the prevention of gut inflammation and bloating. Bloating and stomach inflammation are common complaints during summer and fried foods take longer to digest. Therefore, you should always opt to eat beans, lotus roots and carrots to dispel the heat and strengthen the stomach.
Add nutritional supplements to your diet to increase your physical energy. Vitamins are a good source of much-needed energy in summers.
5. Probiotic-rich food: Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that is needed to keep your gut healthy. A happy and strong gut helps to regulate our immune system. The best probiotics are yoghurt which is loaded with protein. Yoghurt has live bacteria present in it which makes your digestive process easier and better. There are other naturally occurring probiotics rich foods you can add to your diet like curd, yoghurt, fermented foods like idli, or supplements like Yakult.
6. Avoid drinking high sugar content: Cold beverages such as cold coffee, energy drinks, packaged fruit juices and aerated drinks have high sugar content. Sugar keeps off the body and the skin of its natural processes and is not conducive to the peak summer heat.
You can use stevia to sweeten your drinks. Stevia is a natural sweetener becoming very popular right now. It is a good option to stay away from sugar.
Also avoid dairy products as products such as milk, butter, cheese and even ice cream heats the body. The heat produced by consuming these dairy products generates gut issues.
7. Increase fibre diet: It is important to fibre up yourself all year round and especially in summers. When it’s hot outside our digestion tends to slow down and fibre aids digestion. Eating high-fibre foods is a great thing to do to keep a check on your gut health. Raw, dark green vegetables are high in fibre and an easy option. Raspberries, mangoes, and papaya are high-fibre and summery. These are also the cooling foods that soothe your gut health.
8. Increase your immunity: Try to prepare your foods using some herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, black pepper, coriander, cumin, fennel, peppermint can help resolve a number of digestive issues. You can try making decoction which is made using tulsi, cinnamon, black pepper, dry ginger and raisin. You can also try turmeric milk. These herbs spices when added to your food or drink not only add flavour but also provide great health benefits and enhance digestion.
9. Ensure Food Safety: During summers, outdoor events like get-togethers and picnics are common. These are usually food-centric occasions that can be unsafe for your digestion. As these foods are left out at the wrong temperature they can breed bacteria and lead to food poisoning. So keep your food safe and make sure you don’t leave food out for more than four hours, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold, thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens.
10. Regular exercise is important to maintaining your health. Activities like walking and running can aid digestion and reduce stress. The peak summer heat can make it more difficult for you to follow your exercise routine. Exercising outdoors during extreme heat can lead to heatstroke. Try exercises like yoga and indoor physical activities. Also, avoid vigorous exercises that heat up your body.
Additional tips to keep your overall health in check
- Jaipur is a beautiful city to explore so don’t dread the changing weather instead go out following the precautions. Wear breathable clothes every time you step out.
- Nourishing your skin is equally important as our skin inhales everything and sends it to the bloodstream. Make sure you cleanse and moisturize your skin at night before your revitalizing sleep time to remove impurities from your skin. But, make sure the moisturizer you use isn’t violated with toxins.
- Get plenty of rest and good sleep. Keep yourself on schedule and don’t stay up late at night. Sleeping regulates our melatonin and our cortisol levels, the two vital hormones that the body produces to help keep us going. Also, don’t sleep right after eating instead have a quick walk to stimulate your digestion.
- Take a bath with warm water daily. Prefer warm water and not hot! Hot water tends to take away the moisture and vital nutrients from the skin. The warm water bath is revitalizing and rejuvenating.
- Don’t ever go on diets that claim to shed off your weight instantly especially in summers. These fad diets usually keep you starving and deprive you of nutrients. Not only you are exposed to nutritional deficiency, with these diets the body begins to lose water and muscle lowering your metabolism.
These tips will keep you healthy all summer long. Do not slack on your activities and enjoy the change of the seasons. Just ‘Go with the flow’ while shifting into another phase of the year. Treat yourself to a healthy routine, healthy foods, and some pampering to your body some inner reflection.