As the darkened clouds give way to the sunny skies, and the cold breeze gets overpowered by the warmth of the summer sun, almost everything experiences a refreshing turnaround.
The clothes get shorter, the faces get happier, the days get longer, and people’s food choices become a lot cooler.
Your signature steaming latte gets replaced with a watermelon slushie at the café next door. You no longer crave a hot bowl of mixed veggie soup for dinner; you’d rather stick to a chilled Mojito and a light sandwich.
What you must ensure, however, is that your digestive system doesn’t suffer a blow at the cost of your wandering palate during the hot summer months.
Not only do fiber-rich foods keep your gut in good shape by aiding healthy bowel movements, but they also help you lose weight by keeping the hunger pangs at bay for long periods.
Here are five cooling fiber-rich foods you should include in your summer diet:
1. Leafy Green Veggies
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that leafy greens are the healthiest veggies of the lot, owing to their high nutritional content. Apart from being rich in dietary fiber and low in calories, leafy greens are also very cooling, thanks to their high water content (80 – 95%).
They are great sources of nutrients like vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, and magnesium. They even contain generous doses of antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin and beta-carotene. Vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen, the skin’s structural protein responsible for its elasticity and tone. Calcium and vitamin K help improve bone health.
Leafy greens, being rich in magnesium and having a low glycemic index, also help lower the risk of type-2 diabetes. Iron is essential for the formation of hemoglobin and thereby, promoting a healthy flow of blood.
The antioxidants contained in green veggies fight the formation of free radicals, providing protection from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, premature aging, and diabetes. Lutein and zeaxanthin also lower the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Some of the best and healthiest leafy greens include: kale, micro-greens, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, beet greens, watercress, romaine lettuce, swish chard, arugula, endive, bok choy, and turnip greens.
Leafy green vegetables are dense in nutrients that boost your immunity and are good for your health.
Berries do a brilliant job challenging the popular notion that all delicious foods are unhealthy. Apart from pleasing your palate, these chock full of antioxidants are known to fight against many health hazards like stroke, age-related degenerative diseases, and cancer.
Berries, especially strawberries, are alkaline in nature and as per the Ancient Chinese Medicine, these foods, known as the Yin foods help generate a cooling energy within the body. They provide a healthy dose of dietary fiber that apart from lowering the risk of constipation and hemorrhoids also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Use the berries to add flavor to your smoothies, or along with your breakfast cereal.
3. Bell Peppers
You’d think that spicy peppers induce a lot of heat in your body, not something you’d want during summers. The reality, however, is that these veggies make you sweat and thereby help cool your body down.
As per the Harvard University Health Services, a cup of bell peppers contains 1.7 grams of dietary fiber that meets approximately 9% of our daily fiber recommendation. They are low in calories and rich in immunity-boosting antioxidants, vitamins A, E, and C. Vitamin A lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin E, a natural emollient keeps the skin and hair healthy and moisturized.
Capsaicin, a pungent ingredient contained in peppers inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells, a study by Cancer Research suggests. Enjoy a wholesome chickpea and bell pepper salad to get your daily fiber dose!
Sitting by the pool, basking in the sun and biting into a slice of freshly cut melon – isn’t it the perfect life? Turns out, these delicious fruits are pretty good for your overall health too! Though melons can’t be called the greatest sources of fiber, they contain reasonable amounts along with many other health-boosting benefits. These include:
- Boosting your immune system
- Promoting bone health
- Supporting a healthy skin
Melons, owing to their high water content help prevent dehydration and keep you refreshed and rejuvenated as the temperatures soar. They contain potassium that lowers blood pressure by reducing the impact of foods high in sodium.
Watermelons are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid pigment that prevents cellular damage and lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Melons are good sources of vitamins A and C as well.
5. Coconut Water
A healthy and delicious alternative to calorie-packed and sugar-laden colas and processed juices during summer is coconut water. Coconut water contains 2.6 grams of dietary fiber that meets 9% of your daily fiber requirements.
It helps maintain healthy electrolyte balance within the body as it contains essential minerals like potassium and sodium. It thus reduces the symptoms of common health problems experienced during summer months, like dehydration and nausea. Coconut water also contains vitamin C, folate, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin.
Beat the summer heat and embrace healthy living with these fiber rich foods that are sure to tingle your taste buds.
This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.