Eat Right

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Summer is approaching and most of us are dreading the heat and discomfort that these months brings. Fear not, because Amy J Fox, personal trainer and health and skincare therapist has put together some helpful tips on how to survive, and even enjoy, the blistering heat

Smaller Meals

Our bodies don’t need as much food in the summer months and if you think about it, heavier the meal, the more energy the body needs to digest it, making us feel more lethargic. If you want to feel more energetic despite the scorching heat, eat fewer and lighter meals at regular intervals. Great summer snacks are things like sliced cucumber, watermelon, celery sticks, cherries, tomatoes and strawberries. There are foods that naturally contribute to your fluid intake, helping to prevent dehydration whilst giving the body the nutrition it needs without draining its digestive resources.

Love Salads

I am a huge fan of salads and when better to eat them than in the summer! Having spoken to a great number of women in the UAE, most find salads boring, but I believe you just need to use your imagination to come up with a different option for a tasty salad.
Here are two of my favourite salad recipes:

Apple, Cranberry and Walnut Salad:

Ingredients:
• 6 cups baby spinach
• 1 red apple
• 1 green apple
• 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
• v½ cup crumbled feta cheese
• ½ cup dried cranberries

Salad dressing:
• 1 cup apple juice
• 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar in a pinch)
• 2 tablespoons honey
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ cup coconut oil

Method:
• Toss all the ingredients together.
• Mix salad dressing ingredients together and throw over when ready to serve.
• Add grilled chicken pieces to this salad for a kick of protein.
• It will serve about 2-4 people as a main meal.

Strawberry Broccoli Salad:

Ingredients:
• 1 head broccoli, stems removed and chopped (about 2-3 cups of florets)
• 2-3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
• 1/2 cup red onion, diced
• 1 avocado

Salad dressing:
• 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt
• 1/4 cup mayo
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 teaspoon honey

Method:
• Toss all the ingredients together.
• Mix salad dressing ingredients together and throw over when ready to serve.
• Add grilled chicken pieces to this salad for a kick of protein.
• It will serve about 2-4 people as a main meal.

Some of my other favourite ways to make salads a bit more interesting is playing around with the protein you add to it, from salmon and tuna to chicken or beef, there are endless possibilities.

Spice it Up

Although it may sound counter intuitive, research has shown that eating spicy foods increases circulation, which causes the body to perspire and this helps to keep the body temperature down.

Berry Boost

The simple and delicious solution for summer health problems such as dehydration, skin sensitivities and vitamin and mineral deficiencies is berries! They’ll not only help your body looking it’s best, but you’ll feel it too. According to Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN & President of Nutritious Life, “Berries increase blood flow to skin and decrease sensitivity to light, which improves skin’s appearance, structure and texture.” Berries are full of antioxidants and are packed with vitamins and minerals such as iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin K, vitamin C and B6. These little balls of goodness are serious super foods.

Just add Corn

Nothing says summer like fresh sweet corn. Did you know that two antioxidants found in corn, namely lutein and zeaxanthin, act like natural sunglasses, helping to form macular pigment that filters out some of the sun’s damaging rays? It’s true! The same antioxidants may also help lower your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in people ages 60 and above.

Asparagus? Absolutely!

Toss it in a salad, add it to an omelette, or pile it onto toast with a poached egg. Asparagus is one vegetable with serious health benefits that will not only keep your hydration levels up but also act as a multi-purpose accessory to many meals during the summer months. What’s better is that this fine veggie takes only four minutes to cook, and can be served either cold or hot.

Replace your Electrolytes

Fluid replacement is essential to avoid progressive dehydration and water isn’t the only thing that is lost while perspiring. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride are also lost in sweat and it is equally important to replace these. According to Shawn H. Dolan, Ph.D, R.D., C.S.S.D., “Drinking plain water after high-intensity or long-duration exercise is not always effective for rehydration.” Make sure to grab coconut water or a sports drink next time you sweat. Your body will love you for it.

Your Water Bottle is Your Best Friend

First off, staying hydrated could help you avoid overeating. According to Keri Peterson, M.D., a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a medical advisor, “A lot of people confuse thirst for hunger, so they’ll tend to eat rather than drink water. If you’re craving a midday snack and want to make sure your pangs are caused by hunger, not hydration, have a glass of water first. Then see if you’re still hungry 30 minutes later.” This way you won’t only be keeping hydrated, but also using water as a way of complementing weight loss.

In Cameron Diaz’s book, The Body Book, she reveals that the easiest health trick ever is once you wake up in the morning drink a bottle of water. “Once I drink the water, I feel it immediately,” she writes. “I go from being a wilted plant to one that has been rejuvenated by the rain.” If you start your morning feeling hydrated chances are, as long as you are sipping from your water bottle for the rest of the day, you’ll keep up your hydrated state all day long.

How much water is enough, you ask? Because fluid losses are accentuated in warmer climates, our water intake should naturally increase in the summer months and is also dependant on how much exercise you are doing. A great way to calculate exactly how much water you should be drinking on a daily basis is with this water calculator: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/water_calculator.htm

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