As the summer sun continues to blaze across many parts of the world, finding the right foods to eat becomes a matter of both satisfying hunger and staying hydrated. Whether seeking respite from scorching weather or simply lounging poolside on holiday, choosing the right summer superfoods can actually help keep you refreshed throughout the day.
Various options balance hydration, nutrition, and refreshing flavours during hot weather. From succulent fruits bursting with juices to invigorating chilled soups and energising smoothies, there are culinary choices to suit every palate and dietary preference.
While some of these hydrating choices might seem obvious, it’s always worth reviewing options that can help provide respite and support your body in extreme conditions, especially if your work or leisure activities mean you are out and about in the scorching UAE summer sun.
Melon, Melon, Melon
Nothing beats the refreshing taste of juicy, seasonal fruits when temperatures are high. Watermelon is a summertime favourite. Its high water content – approx 91.45 per cent – sweet flavour, and crunchy texture make it the perfect fruit to satisfy thirst and taste buds. Cantaloupe and honeydew are also excellent choices, packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
Looking to order your summer superfoods from somewhere local? HeroGo offers fruit and vegetable boxes featuring ‘ugly’ produce and donations to the community with every order.
A well-prepared salad can be a delightful, cooling meal on hot days. Green salads with crisp lettuce, arugula, spinach, or mixed greens provide many nutrients while helping you stay hydrated. Add hydrating vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes and radishes – radishes are highly regarded in eastern medicine for their ability to decrease excess heat – which enhance the taste and provide additional hydration. Toss on light protein such as tofu, and drizzle to make your salad more filling.
Cold Vegetable Soups
Cold soups are a brilliant way to beat the heat and get the added nutrients of seasonal summer superfoods. Gazpacho, a classic Spanish dish, is a chilled tomato-based soup blended with fresh vegetables and spices. Its vibrant colour and tangy flavour make it a refreshing summer option. Cucumber soup, made with yogurt or buttermilk, offers a cooling effect and a creamy texture. Meanwhile, chilled avocado soup brings a creamy richness with the added benefits of healthy fats.
Add some mint to the mix too. Mint is known to be a cooling herb because of the organic compound menthol. Menthol triggers protein sensory receptors in the mouth that react the same way as if you were eating ice cream!
Locally developed Soule Soups have a delicious pre-made Gazpacho and chilled Beetroot soup, available online or at various grocery stores.
Coconut Water Smoothies
Smoothies are versatile and allow you to experiment with various combinations of fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients. Create a hydrating and nourishing smoothie using a base of coconut water. Coconut is filled with electrolytes which the body loses when sweating. Electrolytes in coconut water include potassium, sodium and manganese. Throw in fruits like strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, and bananas. Add some leafy greens like spinach or kale for extra nutrients and blend with yogurt or plant-based milk for a creamy consistency.
If you are not in the mood to make your own, try ordering from Life Smoothies, who offer a selection of pre-made smoothies that are easy to blend.
The regular intake of fluids can prevent dehydration, which can increase body heat. Classic iced tea is an excellent choice to stay hydrated, provided it is unsweetened. The simple act of drinking cold liquid will lower your internal body temperature and adding ice can help constrict blood vessels and improve circulation, regulating your body temperature.
Black or green tea is a source of antioxidants and can be infused with flavours like lemon, peach, or mint for a refreshing twist. If you prefer herbal teas, try mint, hibiscus or rose all three of which are perfect for bringing down body temperature.
Sadly, as much as you may crave cool ice cream, eating it may actually make you hotter. According to a study from the University of Queensland, our bodies generate heat when trying to digest ice cream and similarly rich foods. Frozen yogurt is a healthier alternative to ice cream and comes in various flavours to satisfy your sweet tooth. Make popsicles using summer superfoods mixing fruits and vegetables with a splash of squeezed juice for a more natural option. Sorbets, made with natural fruit and water, are also a fantastic dairy-free option for a refreshing dessert.
Looking for a local vegan option? House of Pops offers a range of frozen treats (including compostable packaging).
Snacking on water-rich foods throughout the day can improve your overall hydration. Cucumber slices, celery and carrot sticks, watermelon cubes, and juicy cherry tomatoes are excellent refreshing choices between meals. And don’t forget water. Drinking enough liquids throughout the day helps regulate body temperature, prevent dehydration, and support overall bodily functions. Carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go, sip on water regularly to keep yourself hydrated, and be prepared to provide water to those working outdoors in the heat.
Remember that individual dietary needs and preferences vary, so feel free to mix and match these summer superfoods according to your taste and nutritional requirements. Embrace the abundance of fresh, seasonal produce during the summer months, and stay calm and nourished all season long!