It’s the peak of summer and you’ve probably already been around a heatstroke – debilitating weakness and a pounding headache are some of the most common symptoms of heat exhaustion, which when untreated is followed by heatstroke. It may seem common place in a country like India, but heat exhaustion and strokes are not conditions to be taken lightly. They have been known to result in death at times. Most of us are probably rejoicing in the easy availability of bottled water, sugary concentrates, aerated beverages, iced tea powder and the like to stave off the effects of this year’s summer. Did you really think it’s that easy?
Let’s start with water. We buy bottles of the stuff when shopping, travelling, eating out and any number of outdoor activities. Most brands of bottled mineral water however, contain water that’s been processed via reverse osmosis and therefore contain very little if any of the minerals and salts that our body needs to reverse the process of dehydration. If you look up the waters of Hunza, Lourdes, the well of Mexico, the Nordeneau caves, and the Nadana springs, you’ll find their beneficial natures to be largely a result of the ‘impurities’ that the process of reverse osmosis removes. We need to pay attention to the labels of the bottled water we buy to ensure it isn’t just ‘purified’ water, but water that’s been decontaminated, without removing all the minerals within. Preferably water that is bottled at source. Additionally, a balanced diet is vital in ensuring our bodies receive the right amounts of minerals. It follows therefore that a few rupees extra for the right bottled water is probably worth it.
Did you know a can of your favourite aerated beverage has nearly 8 teaspoons of sugar? Did you also know that sugary drinks cause you to lose more body fluids? While they may appear to quench your thirst initially, sugary drinks, including non-aerated ones, actually make you thirstier and that’s how. Prolonged consumption can even lead to obesity and type II diabetes as per some studies. Alcohol too is a no-no.
So what works? At the end of the day, I find a return to tradition works best. I’d say there’s nothing better than traditional drinks. Try variations of the humble lassi – add more water to keep it light, spice it up with fresh black pepper, mint, roasted cumin and coriander. Make it a little more interesting with chunks of freshly cut fruits, whizz it with bananas and mangoes – everything works. The sugar and salt content is well within your control and so is the final taste. Try Jaljeera, one of my all time favorite drinks, though I’d suggest making the mixture at home as the packets contain a little too much salt. The very very humble nimboo pani is a great quencher too, which can be fortified with mint, coriander and many other herbs to make it a great drink.
Disappointing? Perhaps. Healthy? Definitely!