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Experts speak: tips to fight summer

The hot weather causes more than general discomfort — it causes a host of health troubles, from upset stomachs and excessive body heat to skin-darkening and dry hair. Arm yourself with these tips from the experts.

health and fitness Updated: May 02, 2014 16:16 IST
Sumedha Deo

Temperatures in Mumbai are already in the mid-30-degrees, and set to rise further. The hot weather causes more than general discomfort — it causes a host of health troubles, from upset stomachs and excessive body heat to skin-darkening and dry hair. Arm yourself with these tips from the experts.


Beat the summer heat

Internal cooling

Traditionally, foods such as fennel and


have been used to reduce body heat. "Astringent food is the best to cool you. Oatmeal, lentils, beans, grapes and bananas contain tannin, which gives astringent foods their dryness.

When you consume these, your tissues require more water to relax, so water absorption increases and your body stays cool for longer," says Neeraj Mehta, fitness professional, nutritionist and director at the GFFI Fitness Academy.


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He also suggests adding green, leafy vegetables and whole grains to your diet. Clinical nutritionist Prachi Mandholia says you should consume barley, basil seeds (takmaria or sabja) and tomatoes as well. “Sattu — roasted chickpea flour — reduces body heat and helps detox your system. It is a rich source of soluble fibre as well," she says.

Seasonal fruits are also beneficial

"Extract the pulp of the bael fruit and soak in water. Strain and serve the next morning. Bael is known to cool the system, stimulate appetite and counter an upset stomach caused by heat exhaustion," says Kiran Sawhney, fitness trainer and owner at the fitness centre, Fitnesolution. "Other easy cooling foods are mint chutney and kachi lassi (rose syrup with buttermilk)," she adds.

The mango is summer-friendly if consumed in the right manner. “Aam panna cools you down even on the hottest days,” says Mehta.

Reverse hair damage

Your hair takes a beating with excessive sun exposure. You can, however, heal itnaturally. "After shampooing, dilute aloe vera pulp with water, apply on hair, leave on for two to three minutes and rinse," says Dr Apoorva Shah, trichologist and founder, Richfeel Health and Beauty.

He also suggests the use of green tea as a last rinse to protect hair. If you’re going swimming, reverse some of the chlorine damage by soaking your hair in tomato juice before rinsing with water.

Ban the tan

Tanning, sunburn and dryness are some of the problems your


faces during these months. The sticky weather in Mumbai makes slathering sunscreen a bothersome option.


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"Take the pulp of an acidic fruit, like an orange, apple or tomato, and apply on your face. This will delicately exfoliate and remove the day’s tan," says Dr Chitra Nayak, professor of dermatology, BYL Nair Hospital. She also suggests the use of a light moisturiser after bathing, so it gets absorbed easily and doesn’t clog pores.

"Rose water is one of the best ways to cool your skin. Apply generously on your face and neck after cleansing to reduce inflammation and redness," says Dr Rashmi Shetty, cosmetologist and skin expert, Ra Skin and Aesthetics. "Also, apply cucumber pulp or fenugreek seed pulp — just soak them overnight and mash in the morning — to your face for a cooling effect," she says.

DIY cool recipes

1 Mix 1 ml vitamin E oil with 30 ml water. Shake well and keep in a small spray bottle. Whenever your hair feels too dry or parched, simply spray some of this mixture on.
2 At night, when your skin is calm, mix a few drops of lemon with curd and apply it on your face. This will help fight tan. Lemon also has a mild astringent and citric acid that helps skin fight bacteria and keeps oil production limited, thus preventing breakouts.
3 Make a drink of mint, coriander, black salt, black pepper and lime juice. Add chilled water to it and store in a bottle. Keep sipping on it through the day.
4 Make barley water by boiling 1 tbsp of pearl barley in 500 ml of water and simmering till the water boils down to half the amount. This can be had as is or used to make sherbets.