Kolkata entered the record books recently. Although not totally unanticipated, it came as a rude shocker to all residents of the City of Joy. The mercury soared to the 40-degree mark so early in the season (and past that in the districts), much to the chagrin of the inhabitants. Stepping out of the home would be akin to registering on Yama’s waiting list. A moment spent away from the AC would mean swimming in a pool of sweat, and every waking moment spent without drinking water would dehydrate us to the limit of unconsciousness. Naturally, a respite is what we all clamour for.
What better than a good swim!
RESPITE FROM DEHYDRATION
High temperature leads to dehydration. Drink lots of fluids. This is a must for those of you spending a lot of time outdoors.
Even for those staying indoors, the heat can affect the body. For those in corporate jobs, the high stress levels can also cause sodium-potassium imbalance, with effects similar to those affected outdoors.
Electrolyte imbalance (i.e., sodium-potassium imbalance, as well as changes in ratio of some other minerals like magnesium, etc.) in the body is a leading cause of diarrhoea.
Refreshing lebur shorbot
A simple solution of salt and sugar works wonders. Through sweating, the body loses minerals and salts; glucose levels also drop.
If you can add some lime to it to make lebur shorbot or nimbu paani, nothing like it.
This drink can be carried outdoors as well, in a small bottle, and sipped from time to time.
All the summer fruits and vegetables have high water content.
Apart from water, you should have fresh juice and lassi.
Natural beverages like fresh juice and lassi are much better than artificial ones. In fact, soft drinks can often lead you to feel more thirsty, inducing you to drink more of them.
Intake of curd, instead of milk, is recommended as it is easier to digest, is cooling and is more palatable.
Daaber jol (green coconut water) and aakher rosh (sugarcane juice) are other popular options.
Green coconuts are widely sold in Bengal
RESPITE FROM LOSS OF APPETITE
The oppressive weather causes another problem – loss of appetite. This is because of the excessive heat that hampers the digestive process.
For Bengalis, toker daal, i.e., sour daal, made by cooking raw mangoes with lentils, with boiled rice during lunch is a good and tasty option.
Another variation of daal, tetor daal, i.e., bitter daal, made cooking slices of karela (usually round pieces) with lentils, is a good antidote as well.
Not only do they enhance digestion, they are appetising too.
Neem leaves, eaten after being fried, often with diced brinjal, is another very good summer food.
Spicy food is not necessarily harmful, but they must be taken in moderation.
Raw green mango can be made into delicious aam panna sherbet. Concentrated syrups are widely available in the market.
SOME ETERNAL FAVOURITES AMONG BENGALIS DURING SUMMER
tarkari, aam posto bora, radhuni diye lau, stuffed karela, ada mourier
kodair daal, aam diye maacher jhol, pudina diye chingri curry, aam diye
bhetki paturi, doi murgi, kancha aamer mangsher korma.
Children tend to sweat a lot. They play in the open air and face the maximum chance of a heat stroke.
Most of the suggestions above are good for children too.
Additionally, make sure that they eat fruits every day.
It is best to cut down on burgers and pizzas that only cause indigestion.
During meals, children must be coaxed to eat plenty of fresh green vegetables and salads no matter how much they dislike them.
Rose apples (jamrul) soothe nerves apart from having a cooling effect.
Its juice, mixed with pudina, can be drunk in the evening, instead of
the usual tea.
Neem begun, or fried neem leaves with brinjal
SOME FRIENDLY WARNINGS
The sweltering heat encourages the growth of bacteria in food. Hence, it is absolutely not safe to keep food out in the open for long.
Do not have cut fruits kept in the open, which are sold at many places on roadsides, as they can lead to bacterial infections.
Do not have juices from just about anywhere. The water used can be the cause of real trouble for your health.
Diarrhoea is a leading infection, specially in children.
Even chicken pox is a very common disease during this time.
You should avoid having excessive proteins, which includes meats and meat products, as it leads to the rise of body heat.
When temperatures soar, it is easy for bacteria to infect prepared food, especially those that have too much of gravy in them. Hence take extra care to prevent that.
Whatever you eat, say no to junk foods. Bid adieu to chicken roll,
phuchka, mughlai paratha, kobirajis, and the lot – specially those made
at roadside stalls. Consuming the least amount of implies a better
chance of surviving summers without heartburn.
Having lots of fruits is the best way to beat the heat
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