Most Beneficial & Healthy Summer Foods for Seniors
India is known for its ever-lasting summer, the hot and dusty season, when river water levels drop excruciatingly low and the ground becomes parched. Since India is a tropical country, it receives greater solar insolation than other countries. Simply put, we cannot avoid summers, either we learn to live with it or get affected by the ill effects that summer brings every year. Since seniors are more susceptible to adverse weather changes, proper care needs to be taken during the season of summer.
With the onset of the summer, the body starts experiencing major changes. Unlike winters, when a fried and heavy diet makes the mouth water, summer makes us feel repulsed to excessive fried items and heavy foods. The body’s digestion decreases during summer, and we often feel a loss of appetite and water content. Therefore, it becomes necessary to follow a summer-specific diet that consists of many summer foods for seniors. This could help them enjoy the season without inversely impacting health and energy.
Recommended Diet for Seniors in Summer
Summers are characterised by excessive heat in the outer environment, which consequently impacts the internal body system. Under the influence of the outer environment, the heat inside the body increases and that could bring an onslaught of several diseases, if remain unchecked. Therefore, food items, which cool down the body and also provide sufficient nutrients, should be consumed abundantly in this hot weather. In this blog, we have compiled a list of food and beverages to consume in the summers.
Top Summers Foods for Seniors
When the weather is hot and dry, we don’t feel like eating much, the digestive fire decreases and so does the appetite. The body naturally doesn’t feel like having very high-calorie protein foods in the months of summer. In this scenario, we should consume food items, which would give us proper nutrition along with a complimentary cooling effect.
Let us look into some specific summer food for seniors.
1. Seasonal Fruits – Seasonal fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, etc., that have more water content go through the digestive system easier, use less energy and produce less heat in the process, hence these are best for seniors. They supply essential minerals to the body and keep one hydrated during the daytime.
In a tropical country like ours, the most abundantly available fruit in summers is Mango. Mango is considered a whole food in itself. Since it contains excessive heat, these must always be dipped in water for some time before consumption. Shakes/juices should be consumed with milk, as milk helps to check the excessive heat of the mango.
Ash guard (pethakaddu) is a highly nutritious fruit that grows in abundance in our country. Its juice detoxifies the body and has a cooling effect. It also helps to calm you down. Seniors prone to cold and excessive mucus problems should add a pinch of black pepper and honey to neutralise its cooling effect.
Bael (Wood Apple) is an Indian fruit that is highly useful in beating the summer heat. You can make juice out of it. It is a natural blood purifier and is a perfect fruit for summers.
2. Millets – Millets high in fibres but very light to digest, are best for consumption in the summer season. Millets are rich in Magnesium and Calcium. Magnesium relaxes the muscles and nerves of the body, while Calcium regulates the inner body temperature. Raagi or finger millet is one such millet. It is rich in fibre and easily digestible. You can consume raagi as a pudding or with curd. This could be a healthy breakfast option as well.
3.Sattu – It is made out of wheat or black gram (channa). To make Sattu, whole wheat and channa are roasted on low flame for an hour. Upon cooling, it is ground to a fine powder. This powder can be consumed with water, adding jaggery or sugar is optional. One glass of this drink is so filling that you can manage the entire day, especially advantageous if you are fasting.
4. Gulkand – An amazing flower preserve, it is made of fresh fragrant rose petals, which are pink. Rose petals are immersed in sugar syrup for a few days, drained and then consumed. You can have it once or twice a day. It is supposed to have a very cooling effect. Take a Betel-leaf (Paan), add fennel seeds and Gulkand in it. Consume this after lunch to feel the holistic effects of this simple food item.
5. Herbs and Spices – Generally, less spicy food is recommended in the summer. There are a few herbs and spices which help cool the body and are highly recommended in the summer season.
Cardamom (Elaichi) detoxifies the body, relaxing your system and ultimately cooling it down.
Cumin seeds (Jeera) are highly effective in digestion-related issues during summer. A freshly ground cumin powder can be added to vegetables and salads to minimise digestive disorders.
Fennel seeds (Sauf) have a natural cooling effect and aid easy digestion. Consume roasted fennel seeds after meals and you will boast of its effect soon after.
Along with these recommended summer foods for seniors, one should always consume plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Although the best drink to have in summers is Water, many times we have the urge to drink something other than water but equally refreshing. Therefore, we have compiled a list of easy-to-make summer drinks for seniors, that not only hydrate you but also have multiple health benefits.
Top Summer Drinks for Seniors
1. Aam Panna – Raw mangoes are known to beat the summer heat effectively. As they are available locally in summers, one should try making Aam Panna from raw mangoes.
To make Aam Panna – cook a raw mango in a pressure cooker, remove the pulp and make a paste out of that pulp by adding water. In this, add sugar/jaggery/mishry, roasted cumin seeds, and a pinch of salt. You can also make a concentrated syrup and mix it with water, to consume it at any time of the day you feel like having a cooler.
2. Rosewater – To make rose water – boil sugar in water, add rose petals, preferably the Indian wild variety of roses, after removing it from the gas stove. Once it cools down, strain the liquid and the tasty rose water drink is ready.
3. Buttermilk (Chaach) – It is a classic Indian summer drink. Take a cup of curd, add a good amount of water and churn it to make a white liquid. You can add rock salt, roasted jeera, and a little candy sugar as well, per your taste. It should be consumed before or after lunch. Seniors should avoid consuming it at night.
4. Jal Jeera – It is very good for those who have digestive issues in the summer. To make Jaljeera, take roasted jeera, a bit of coriander powder, a bit of black pepper, and mix it with water.
5. Sabja (Basil Seeds) – Take a glass of lemon juice; soak sabja or chia seeds in water for some time. Once they are puffed up, add in lemon juice and drink that juice once or twice a day. It is high in vitamin C, so it protects you from sunburn and rashes in summers.
6. Coconut water – If you belong to a region where coconuts grow in abundance, always choose coconut water over any other drink. It is rich in nutrients and cools your body down like no other drink.
The aforementioned summer drinks are highly recommended for seniors in a hot tropical country like India. One can even skip their meal and take any of these drinks to feel hydrated, fresh, and energetic throughout the day.
Summers are all about keeping levels of joy in the mind high and keeping levels of heat in the body low. For seniors, as long as the internal environment is cool, they can deal with the external heat easily. So, this summer, let the heat not beat you. Try these soul-satisfying summer foods for seniors and keep your energy level up throughout the season.
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Frequently Asked Questions
There is not a single rule that applies to every senior. The diet should be decided basis body type and local climatic conditions.
Anything that grows during the summer (seasonal fruits and veggies) and suits your body should be consumed. Generally, food items that generate heat inside the body should be avoided. Try to consume a very light, less spicy diet in this weather
Alcohol makes you highly dehydrated, even chilled alcoholic beverages are dehydrating in nature. Therefore, such drinks should be avoided as much as one can.