THE summer months in the Philippines usually record the hottest temperatures of the year. And this weather makes it the perfect time to travel around the country and have some sunny adventures with family and friends. The heat though can also have an impact on our overall health—we’re more prone to dehydration and having digestive issues that can spoil all the fun.
Make the most out of these easygoing months by staying healthy and nourishing the body with wholesome food choices. Filipino plant-based brand Sekaya (www.sekaya.com.ph), and Dr. Eca Lorenzo, internal medicine specialist and functional medicine practitioner, suggest tweaks on our daily eating habits that can help energize us throughout summer.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FRESH PRODUCE. April and May are when produce is at its peak, when farmers harvest crops and when our own backyards are abundant with fruits. “During this time, you notice that local in-season fruits like mango, guyabano, coconut, rambutan, santol, pomelo and pineapple are more readily available at your favorite grocery stores and markets. This can help add more color and variety to your plates, allowing you to get as many nutrients as possible,” shares Lorenzo.
“It’s also great to keep yourself well-hydrated by adding in more vegetables with high water content like lettuce, tomato, broccoli, spinach, and eggplant to what you eat.”
GO FOR LIGHTER MEALS. On warm days, the digestive system may become slow as more energy is being spent to keep the body from overheating. “Avoid eating heavy meals this summer to give your digestive system a chance to keep up with everything that’s going on in your body,” Lorenzo suggests. “Remember to control your portions and take your time chewing your food to avoid bloating.”
It’s good to have some healthy snacks like veggie sticks and dips, trail mixes and salad cups in between meals to curb hunger and avoid overeating. “This is also an opportunity to take in more fiber which helps digestion,” Lorenzo explains.
CHOOSE YOUR COLD TREATS WISELY. Instead of ice creams and sugary beverages, try having fruit smoothies or botanical-infused drinks. “Sugar can actually lead to dehydration when consumed in high volumes,” Lorenzo warns. “Drinking water is still the best way to quench your thirst. But if you want something more flavorful, it’s best to choose the healthy route by making smoothies with the freshest fruits and without added sugar, or add ice to your favorite botanical infusions.”
Sekaya Botanical Infusion, the plant-based brand’s line of botanical blends made from organic ingredients with wellness benefits like easing digestive issues and boosting immunity, can also be added to one’s hydration fix. They are so easy to prepare. Just steep a bag or two in freshly boiled water and infuse for 3-4 minutes, then add ice or put it inside the fridge for a refreshing healthy drink.
OBSERVE FOOD SAFETY PRACTICES. Lorenzo reminds that cases of food poisoning and gastroenteritis can be quite common during summertime. “Food poisoning and gastroenteritis due to bacteria or virus have similar symptoms like an upset stomach and vomiting. Both are caused by unhygienic or contaminated food and water,” she adds. “Prevent this from happening by following food prep standards like washing your hands when handling ingredients, making sure fruits and veggies are washed before eating, and ensuring that meat is cooked through. Also, avoid leaving food and water out for hours, especially under the heat of the summer sun.”
Summer is a great time to rest, relax and loosen up, but the heat can take a toll on our health too. Maintain good eating habits and even add a few more, so we can avoid the summer blues and keep having fun all season long.