For the first time in 72 years, the national capital recorded a maximum temperature of 42.6 degrees Celsius in the first half of April. Besides the adverse effect that extreme temperatures can have on the environment, they also affect our health, causing dizziness, dehydration, fatigue and heatstroke.
“Whenever the climate changes, the first 15 days are important. During the transition from winter to summer, you need to have a proper regime, because it is the peak time to be sick”, says founder and chief consultant of Vrikshakalpa Ayurveda, Dr Amit Verma.
To keep our cool during summer, he shares with Patriot a few tips and techniques from Ayurveda.
It is the most popular Ayurvedic massage done with warm oil. The type of oil is chosen depending on the body type of the person. The oil is applied from the scalp to the soles of the feet and is said to have numerous benefits for the human body. It nourishes the skin, increases blood circulation, gives improved vision and stamina, and helps with better sleep and overall health.
Sarvangadhara / Pizhichil
It is an Ayurvedic treatment method where different kinds of herbal decoction are poured over the body. It is an effective method to relieve stress and make your body calm with its soothing effect.
Lepa is a method wherein pastes of different herbs are applied on to the body. It protects and nourishes the skin by improving the protective layer. Lepa is an effective method to reduce sunburn and heatstroke.
“Summer season causes dryness in our body due to the heat. Proper oiling has to be done to protect our skin from further damage” , says Dr Verma. Coconut oil and sandalwood oil are commonly used as they give a soothing effect. Hing sagar oil can also be used as it is known for its cooling effect. Another alternative is Chandanadi oil which gives a calming effect during the summers.
Oiling can be done in different ways. Some prefer to do it before their bath, while some do it at night as the skin repairs itself during the night. The oil can be washed off in the morning.
To reduce sunburns, the household herb aloe vera is the best remedy. Moreover, you can also make a paste of chandan, manjistha (Indian madder), yesti madhu (licorice) to apply on the body. The use of cucumber is greatly encouraged because of its cooling effect.
Summer also witnesses a lot of breakouts on the face due to dryness, pollution and accumulation of oil and sweat. Neem powder or mulethi can be mixed with milk to apply on the face for dry skin. For oily skin, milk can be replaced with rose water. Applying this paste reduces the breakout, soothes the skin and provides a cooling effect. Even cooling your room with flowers and plants can help in reducing the body temperature.
Food habits and drinks
During summer, the urge to drink water is high compared to the urge to eat food. The intake of water helps in maintaining the body temperature and prevents fatigue by boosting energy.
Sattu is a perfect thirst buster. It is a protein-rich flour, commonly made of chana (Bengal gram) and other ground pulses and cereals. It can be consumed in various forms of drinks and sherbets. It’s got a high nutritional value which can improve the stamina of the body during summer. With the high amount of nutritional content, it can quench your thirst and prevent overheating of the body by bringing down the temperature.
Coconut water is a natural energy booster and a hydrating drink. It has electrolyte components which boost your energy. Shikanji, which is made of lemon, is also a hydrating drink that can energise you on a sunny day.
Adding tulsi in milk helps to reduce the body temperature. Milk can be replaced with water too. Tulsi induces sweating and brings down the elevated body temperature.
Cold decoction of pudina can be consumed in the form of mojito which calms the body. Herbs like pudina (mint), dhaniya (coriander), tulsi along with cucumber can be soaked in water overnight and the herbal water can be used throughout the day by replacing normal drinking water.
While talking about what kinds of food items can boost your energy during summer, Dr Verma says that “consumption of food that are madhur (sweet) and cold in nature, which can prevent dryness in your body are highly recommended”.
Fruits with high water content like watermelon, muskmelon, apple and mango are recommended during the hot weather. “I personally prefer eating fruit by chewing, but it can vary person by person. Some people are not comfortable with that, so smoothies are preferred because they contain fibres and pulp of the fruit. The juice form of any fruit should be the last preference”, says Dr Verma.
Fruit helps in maintaining the temperature of the body as well as provides adequate water content needed for the functioning of the body. Salads to opt for are those with high water content. Consumption of home made ghee is a good practice to reduce pitta (heat).
“During summer, with the body heating up, it is always advised to eat food that is high in energy, easy to digest and provides nourishment. It is the best way to remain healthy”, adds Dr Verma.
As the temperature rises, digestion slows down which results in indigestion and related problems. The human stomach reacts differently to each season. So, the diets have to change accordingly. To prevent gastritis, consume food that can be digested easily.
“Eat when you’re hungry and only 70% of it, and it should include all six tastes”, advises Dr Verma. According to Ayurveda, one should divide your stomach in three parts. First part is to be filled with solids, second part with liquids and the third part has to be left empty to keep the doshas (humor) balanced.
Drinking herbal tea using ajwain, jeera and fennel can tackle indigestion. Betel leaf (paan) is also an effective remedy to improve digestion.
Detoxification is also a common method to cleanse your body and gut health. A soup diet, with or without ghee and spices, is one of the detoxification methods. It varies according to the body type. Increased consumption of milk is also a trend these days.
Health consists of physical, mental, spiritual and social well being. All these factors have to be maintained properly to achieve wellbeing. “Our body signals us everything and we should listen to the call of our body. It gives signals whether we are dehydrated, hungry or our stomach is full. We have to listen to it and act accordingly”, Dr Verma concludes.
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