The body adapts to the heat by perspiring excessively but we don’t compensate this with sufficient water. We may drink extra cool drinks or juices but these are no substitutes for plain, unadulterated water.
Many at this time suffer from constipation, which can even become complicated and result in bleeding and pain. You have to drink two and a half to three litres of water daily. This may seem impossible but it only requires a little planning. Drink half a litre of lukewarm water on waking up in the morning. From breakfast time up to lunchtime keep a one-litre bottle with you and see to it that you have emptied that bottle before having your lunch. From lunchtime to 6pm in the evening you should drink another one litre. From 6pm to bedtime try to finish another half a litre and with this you have consumed 3 litres.
Now let’s look at the diet. Try to eat whole grain cereals like whole wheat (atta) chapattis and ragi instead of rice at all meals. This increases the fibre in the diet. The dietary factor most affecting bowel movement is the fibre content or roughage in the diet. Whole pulses like channa, rajma, moong, etc. also add additional fibre and have more nutrients if they are sprouted. This makes them effective in relieving constipation.
Besides this, try to increase your vegetable intake. Make sure you are eating a sabji or pallya for lunch, plus a salad. At dinner a large bowl of raw salad is a must. Increase your fruit intake to two to three fruits per day. You can have a banana or orange at 11 am. An apple, pear or guava at 6.30 pm and some papaya after dinner. Always try to eat a whole fruit instead of a juice and whole vegetables instead of a soup, so that you get the fibre. Besides this try to avoid very rich and oily food. Reduce salt intake specially reduce intake of fried salty snacks like papad, chips, namkeen and mixture, which cause water retention and can increase constipation.
Finally heavy consumption of alcohol and aerated drinks must be avoided. All these things tend to create fluid retention and thereby increase dehydration and constipation. When you drink one bottle of Coke or Pepsi, you are consuming 150 cals or 7 teaspoons of sugar. Three large pegs of whisky is 450 cals or 22 teaspoons of sugar. When such large amounts of sugar or even salt enter the blood, the concentration rises. This causes retention of water that is meant to be excreted, so that the blood concentration can be brought back down to normal. This in turn results in constipation.
The last but not the least is exercise. You must have a regular 20-30 minutes walk planned in your daily schedule. This exercise also helps to regularize bowel movement.
Prevent diseases in the Summer Season
The summer season is the main holiday season of the year. However our enjoyment is often disrupted by various ailments and diseases. Actually it’s a cycle we need to be very conscious of. The main factor to be aware of is that food spoils easily in the hot weather. Micro- organisms would be thriving everywhere right from fresh fruits, juices, salads, to cooked foods, etc. Milk, milk products and non-veg foods are especially prone to spoilage if kept outside a refrigerator for even one or two hours.
Another major problem is that summer season is also the season for flies to breed and multiply and they seem to be everywhere and anywhere. Please note they love to sit on dry foods like bread or biscuits where they can pass on infections. So it is very important that all foods are kept clean and properly packed or covered.
- Fruits and vegetables bought from the market must not be directly placed on kitchen counters as the germs on them will stick to the counter and then contaminate our hands or other foods placed on the counter.
- All fruits and vegetables must be thoroughly washed and used immediately on cutting them.
- Cooked food must be eaten immediately and leftovers immediately refrigerated. Food left in a warm kitchen is the ideal breeding ground for micro-organisms.
- Non-veg food if leftover and to be reused, please freeze and defrost when necessary.
- Be very careful about milk and milk products and milk sweets—they spoil very fast in the summer. Normally after boiling milk we leave it in the kitchen to cool before refrigeration. Remember to put it in the refrigerator at the earliest. When eating out be very careful about lassi, milk shakes, custards, ice-creams, etc.
- Children are most prone to stomach upsets. One major reason could be that their nails are not clipped as regularly as they are during the school times. Also we may be relaxed and not so strict about them washing hands before they eat.
Once a person gets an attack of diarrhea they get weak and run down. They are then prone to coughs, colds and other infections. Even typhoid and jaundice are common at this time. If a person gets diarrhea, the first treatment is to stop all milk, milk products, egg and non-veg completely for 48 hours. Only curd must be given 3-4 times a day along with toast, rice, Marie biscuits and apple and banana may be eaten. If the diarrhea does not significantly reduce in 24 hours, a doctor must be consulted and medication begun. Fresh clear water, tender coconut water and oral rehydration solution can be given.
Another must is to start B-complex and C supplementation immediately and continue it morning and evening for the next 10 days to build up resistance against another infection.
After the diarrhea attack see that you take all precautions against a cold and cough for the next two weeks as your resistance will be low, causing you to catch these infections easily.
Stay safe and healthy this summer.