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Healthy Eating: Summertime treats
By KATHERYN RUBIN
20/06/2012
The top 8 foods to keep your body cool, energized, and fit this season.
 
Across the northern hemisphere, summer is officially here. And as the temperatures start to rise, more and more of us will find ourselves outside. Whether your plans are to hit the beach, take long picnics in the park or go for a hike, there are a few foods and drinks to look out for so that you can make the most of your summer fun.

Here are the top foods to keep you feeling refreshed, hydrated and of course, in shape this summer:

Watermelon

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Its name really says it all. With over 90 percent water by weight, watermelon is a true hydration hero, and so as the temperature outside starts to rise, watermelon will keep your body temperature down.  Now, watermelon has had a hard life, as its sweetness has earned it an unfortunate reputation for being high in calories; fortunately, this reputation is entirely false. Watermelon not only contains water, it is over 90% water by weight. As a result, a cup of diced watermelon contains only 46 calories, making it the perfect beach-time treat. On top of this, watermelon is loaded with Vitamin A, as well as antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene that will keep you healthy, and energized this season.

Papayas

This exotic fruit typically finds itself on summer fruit plates, as it’s cool and refreshing; however, papayas are more than just a sweat treat. Papayas are rich in papain, a protein-digesting enzyme, as well as various other compounds that fight bloating, and make you feel more comfortable in your summertime attire. On top of these compounds, papayas are also a top source of Vitamin C, potassium and folate, making them a nutritious delicacy all around.

Mint

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Now it isn’t only fruit that makes a delectable and healthy summertime treat; mint is a great addition to your diet this season. Widely used across India, Europe and of course Israel, mint is famous for its cooling properties, and so is a great addition to any dish when the temperature heats up. Moreover, mint is famous for imparting a soothing flavor to food it is mixed with, which will make you feel calm and relaxed.

Cucumber

“Cool as a cucumber” is more than just an expression, it’s a fact. With 96% of their weight being made up from water, cucumbers are a terrific way to beat the scorching heat, and cool you down. The high water content also helps to flush toxins from the body and will help you de-bloat. If that isn't enough, adding cucumbers to your favorite summer dishes can help with weight loss as they are considered a great source of fiber (leave the skin on though).

Peaches

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As the temperature starts to rise, easy to carry fruits such as apples and bananas may seem a bit too heavy and filling, but what about a peach? Rich in 10 different vitamins, peaches are one of the most nutritious fruits around. What’s more, they are 88% water by weight, so they will help to rehydrate you when you are sweating it out on a hike, or lying out at the pool.

Parsley

Mint isn’t the only herb you should add to your summer food regime, sprinkle parsley onto your meals too. A natural diuretic, parsley can help to relieve water retention, specifically that which is the result of annoying PMS. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the body, making it a great addition to your diet if you are feeling ‘puffy’ before hitting the beach. However, be aware that as parsley is a diuretic you will want to increase the amount of water your drink.

Mangoes

MCT

Mangoes are so sweet, that most of us forget they are actually healthy. With only 100 calories per cup and packed with vitamins, mangoes are most definitely an exceptional summer treat. What’s more, mangoes can also help to clear clogged pores, which is great when you are sweating it out all day under the scorching sun.

Water

Last but not least, water. It’s simple, it’s easy and yes it’s cheap. But it’s also exactly what your body needs when the temperature starts to spike. While we can eat more food that is high in water, nothing beats drinking some H20. Eight to nine glasses of water a day will help to regulate one’s body temperature, while replacing essential electrolytes lost due to excessive sweating. However, that’s not all this clear liquid can do. Drinking adequate amounts of water will keep your skin hydrated while you bake under the sun. Furthermore, when you are feeling drained and exhausted water is a natural energy drink. Down a glass or two, to boost your energy levels and fight off fatigue and sluggishness as you run around in the heat.



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