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It is hot. It is sultry. But keeping cool in summer is easy with these wonderful tips – certainly do try the chilled drinks featured here!
I dread summers. The soaring temperatures, the blazing sun, sticky, sweltering heat/humidity; they are all back! It is that time of the year, again. If it looks like a misery-making endurance test ahead, fret not.
On a brighter side, summer offers a chance to wear your coolest outfits, flaunt your flip-flops, have unlimited fun in water parks, enjoy your favorite ice creams/golas and not to forget, indulge in plenty of mangoes!
Summer is also about keeping calm and coping with unbearable heat. It is about finding ways to stay cool; and while dealing with summer woes isn’t always easy, with so many delicious summer drinks, tips for keeping cool in summer, and ‘tricks’ to cool yourself down with, the heat will not get you down. So, let’s chill out!
Coconut water /Nariyal paani
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Nature’s most refreshing drink, is so soothing to sip on a scorching day. This ultimate thirst quencher, packed with vitamins, natural enzymes and essential electrolytes is one of the best natural remedies for instant hydration. It helps bring down body temperature during a fever, prevents kidney stones, headaches/ migraine attacks, muscle cramps, lowers blood pressure and maintains skin elasticity.
The vintage Lemonade /Nimbu paani
On a sultry day, nothing tastes better than a glass of freshly squeezed, icy cool homemade lemonade – so simple to make and so quick to serve. Lemons are readily available throughout the year, are easy on the pocket and loaded with vitamin C – which boosts immunity. Garnish with cooling mint (it aids digestion, acts a purifier) and top up with plenty of crushed ice, just before serving.
Another popular, traditional drink in India; creamy, frothy chaas is one of summer’s best comforting drinks – it reduces body heat and is great for digestion. Have it plain, salted or make a masala chaas – grind together some ginger, cooling coriander, curry leaves and green chilies. Served best in a tall glass with a dash of black salt/ kaala namak.
It is a well-liked drink by many because of its tangy taste and cooling effect. Besides, it aids digestion.
Sweet, tangy and refreshingly cool, this Ayurvedic drink is perfect for reducing body heat/pitta, inflammation, acidity and the effects of sun strokes.
Mango/ Aam Panha/ kairiche panhe
This well renowned drink is a seasonal delight! Sweet and tangy, panha is known for its heat resistant properties – to make the body cooler. It is made out of raw mangoes/ kairi, jaggery, cardamom and saffron (although the recipe can vary).
In many Maharashtrian households, panha is served at traditional events, along with a savory called vatleli dal– made by grinding together a coarse mixture of soaked chana dal, grated kairi, green chillies, salt. This mix is then tempered with red chillies, mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida. This dal-panha combination is a mouth-watering treat and definitely makes the summer months worth looking forward to.
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Sweet and juicy watermelons blended into a revitalizing juice- who can resist it? Loaded with water and antioxidants, this juice keeps you healthy and hydrated.
Tip– If you find the embedded seeds annoying to remove, cut the watermelon along the seed lines or into thinner slices. It makes the seeds easier to remove, as quite a few will simply fall out on their own! Save some pureed juice for another hot day. Pour it in ice cube trays. When solid, release from moulds. Store in sealable freezer bags. Consume within a month.
Sugarcane juice/ganne ka ras
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This is one of the most popular summer drinks in India. Sugarcane juice with a dash of ginger and lemon juice, not only quenches thirst but gives an instant energy boost, because of its natural sugar content. People with diabetes need to check with their doctor before having it. Make sure you have it at a place which is clean, makes it hygienically and serves it in disposable glasses.
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Have it as a summer-time snack, toss it into a salad, a sandwich filling or juice it. Whichever way you have it, cucumber, with its high water content, is summer’s most cooling ingredient. It fights heat, flushes out toxins, cleanses your body, nourishes it and makes your skin smooth and supple.
Note – Normally, we peel the outer skin of the cucumber and either throw it away or use it to soothe tired eyes or lighten dark circles. We hardly ever consume the outer skin, as it can be hard to chew. What many of us may not know is most of the nutritional value of cucumbers comes from the peel – it is very rich in insoluble fibre, adds bulk to stool and aids easy elimination – so blend it into the juice!
Summer is back and so is the much-loved king of fruits! It is the season to binge on mangoes (and aarmas!). They are high in fibre and are an excellent source of vitamin A, C and E. From mouth watering relishes like hot mango pickle, chutney, chunda ( sweet and sour mango pickle), moramba ( sweet, savory Maharashtrian jam), scrumptious snacks, mango salads, to delightful desserts and delicious drinks; mangoes are so very versatile. Whip up and relish a healthy mango milkshake or even a rich creamy lassi. Go ahead, make the most of the mango season.
Image source: Sailu’s Food
Gulkand is a sweet preserve made out of rose petals. It’s an incredible cooler, especially for heat related problems like sunstroke, nose bleeds, boils and blisters. Add some gulkand to chilled milk. Blend well. Garnish with freshly picked rose petals, crushed pistachios/almonds (optional) for a sweet summertime treat. Gulkand also tastes good with plain lassi, ice-creams and desserts. Diabetics should consult their doctor as gulkand contains sugar.
Rooh afza/rose milkshake
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Rooh Afza is a syrup made with fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers and roots. Make a cool rose milkshake with cold milk, a spoonful of rooh afza and sabja seeds/almonds.
For your little ones, occasionally during summer holidays or after school, these milkshakes are a great way to make them finish their milk!
Khus/vetiver is a fragrant, cooling herb with a lovely woody scent. Khus sherbet is made from the roots of vetiver grass. The dark green sherbet is sweet and tasty. It is diuretic, cures redness or burning in eyes, burning urination, dehydration, fever due to heat.
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It is said to be the perfect summer drink as it has numerous health benefits- brings down body heat, is given to people with a high body temperature, and is a powerful diuretic – helps prevent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
Stay hydrated with water. Take small sips all day. Do not wait until thirsty.
ALWAYS wear sunglasses – they protect eyes from harmful UV damage, dust, debris, sand, flying insects, reduce squinting which causes wrinkling, prevent freckles or spots around eyes.
Cover head with a scarf, cap, hat or an umbrella.
Choose cottons. Avoid tight or thick garments, embellishments, dark colors.
Wear sandals, open toed shoes. Remove shoes periodically and let feet breathe.
Keep hair away from face and neck.
Avoid oily, spicy/street food, fizzy or canned drinks and synthetic juice or milkshakes.
Gorge on summer fruits eg. musk melons, watermelons (only hygienic, well washed ones from home).
Carry a hand-held foldable plastic fan, face wipes, sunscreen and a deodorant in your bag.
On short journeys, a packet of raisins, figs, tetra-packs of spiced buttermilk or pack of plain yoghurt are yummy, cooling and handy to have. Keep away from heat. Consume within a few hours.
Park vehicles in shady areas. Do not sit in your parked car.
Have tepid water showers, twice daily.
Keep house cross ventilated. Windows and internal doors (if any) should be open at night.
Unplug gadgets (even phone chargers) when not in use – they produce heat.
Plants like fern, aloe vera, snake plant, palm tree, keep house cool, fresh.
Take a summer break (even a short one would do) to a hill station/cooler destination. It helps.
Avoid drinking cold water or taking cold showers after being out in the sun for long hours. A sudden variation in body temperature can be harmful for your health. When you drink water, have a piece of jaggery with it. Jaggery helps control/ balance body temperature, is a good source of energy (and also increases your haemoglobin count!).
Raw onions have amazing cooling properties. Inhaling freshly cut onion can stop nose bleeds instantly, as onions contain sulphur which acts as a blood thickening agent. Onion juice when applied behind ears, palms and soles, helps bring down body temperature during sunstroke.
Sabja/basil seeds help keep the body cool. They can be washed, soaked overnight and are best had either in their gelatinous form the next day, or else, put them in sherbets, milkshakes or sweets like falooda.
Munching a small piece of fresh coconut and some cumin seeds is a simple and effective home remedy which offers relief for mouth ulcers.
For dry or itchy eyes – Wash and soak coriander seeds. Strain water in a bowl. Dip a clean cotton swab/ cotton wool in it. Squeeze some drops into your eyes twice daily.
Sandalwood (chandan) is a time tested Ayurvedic ingredient. Apply sandalwood paste to your forehead to bring down body temperature. A sandalwood and turmeric face pack keeps the complexion clear, reduces oiliness, blemishes and tan, and soothes pimples, acne. A face pack of gram flour, yoghurt, honey/ lemon juice and pinch of turmeric also lightens a tan.
Hang a khus (vetiver) curtain over your windows, doors and terraces. They do not allow the sunlight or heat to pass through. Drench them with water to get a nice cool breeze.
Go traditional – To cool water, place a sachet of vetiver roots in an earthern pot. Store fruits and vegetables in cool clay pots. Sprinkle water on the soil if you have a garden (for a lovely earthy smell) or balcony/ plants (early morning or evenings) to cool down your house.
Wrap up small, damp hand towels. Place them in the freezer. Remove as required. Use as wipes to freshen up.
Fill a plastic spray water bottle with water and refrigerate. Carry it along, when outdoors. Give your face and neck a nice refreshing spray, when hot.
Place a tub or tray full of ice cubes in front of a table fan. As the ice begins to melt, the breeze will pick up cold water, creating a nice, cool blast of air.
Hang a wet sheet by an open, airy window – as the water evaporates, it will blow cooler air towards you. This offers some respite, particularly when a power cut interrupts your sleep.
How do you keep cool in summers? Especially during a power cut? I would love to know your tips!
In the meantime, this summer, let us try give something back to our environment! Lets GO GREEN and GROW MORE TREES. Trees act as natural air conditioners – cooling the environment, cleaning the air and providing shade. Have a rocking summer and STAY COOL!
Header image source: pixabay