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Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Summer nutrition may not be as easy to figure out, as one would imagine. Not only is it important to drink enough water, but it is also essential to make sure your solid foods contain enough water and nutrition to keep your energy levels optimal in the extreme weather. Carrying bottles of water especially while stepping out and eating enough fruits are two summer diet tips that perhaps all health experts will suggest, in order to avoid dehydration. But these may not be enough in order to stay healthy, especially as the heat wave has been sweeping large parts of the Indian subcontinent. Heat wave is characterised by temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius and above, as well as extremely hot and dry summer winds.

If you spend a good part of your day outdoors, braving the sweltering heat and loo, then there's a good chance you may experience a number of health issues including sluggishness, headaches, nausea and even poor digestion. These may be brought on by loss of fluids from your body due to excessive sweating. There are certain foods that may also be responsible for leaving your body dehydrated. Caffeine and caffeinated drinks are often blamed for dehydration and whether or not one can consume them during summers remains a common confusion among people.

Caffeine During Summers: Yay or Nay?
We contacted consulting nutritionist Dr. Rupali Datta to clear this common doubt about whether or not it is safe to consume caffeine during summers, and if so, then what are the safe consumption limits for caffeinated drinks. We asked her about three most commonly consumed caffeinated drinks- tea, coffee and energy drink:

1. Is it okay to consume caffeine during summers?
Coffee is said to be a diuretic drink, which means that it is feared to cause fluid loss, by making you urinate more often. However, a number of studies have dispelled the notion that coffee is incredibly dehydrating, if consumed in moderation, as part of a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Datta echoes these sentiments, saying that it is perfectly okay to consume coffee during summers.

2. What is the healthiest source of caffeine during summers- tea, coffee or sports drinks?
Dr. Datta says, "All but sports drinks can be consumed under proper guidance." Sports and energy drinks have been blamed for a number of health problems by multiple research studies. Although coffee has more caffeine than sports drinks, the latter is considered more harmful as it contains more sugar than your average sweetened cup of coffee.

3. What is the recommended daily intake of caffeine for summers?
According to Dr. Datta, "250 milligrams or roughly two and a half cups of caffeinated drinks are acceptable in a day. Anything that exceeds this may have side-effects." However, she warns that excessive caffeine may result in heart palpitations and headaches.

4. What are the healthy ways to consume caffeine during summers?
Dr. Datta suggests, "Pair your cup of coffee or tea with some cheese or nuts. Other snack options that you can consume with caffeinated drinks include popcorn, a slice of multigrain bread etc."

So now you know! When it comes to health and nutrition, it is always advisable to know the complete truth about particular foods and drinks, as well as their impacts on your body. Knowledge is power, after all. Happy Summers!

Dr. HelloDox Care #
HelloDox Care

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada, and those with fair skin are at increased risk. “Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning equipment and having fair skin are the most common risk factors for skin cancer,” says Lynda MacNiven, senior prevention coordinator for the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “People who work, or exercise, in the sun for long periods of time are at greater risk.”

As much as you would like, an ice cream can't help you cool down in the scorching heat of this summer. Although one may argue that one feels just fine after ice cream, the truth is that it's only temporary. Cooling foods are what you should have as they help to cool heat and cleanse toxins from the body.

Here are some of the foods that help cool down your body naturally:

1. Cucumber - Not surprisingly, being 'cool as a cucumber' actually holds true. Cucumbers are fruits that help keep the body hydrated. Keeping your body cool during hot days is vital to your health as it can help prevent a number of complications such as heat strokes and dehydration. Munching on cucumber slices and hummus is a good way to beat the heat and stay cool.

2. Watermelon - This quintessential beach fruit is yet another one which would help you beat the heat. This seasonal fruit acts like an internal air-conditioner, and is rich in water, helping in reducing body heat to a large extent while keeping you hydrated.

3. Peaches - Peaches are not only delicious but are very rich in vitamins A and C, which help in keeping your body cool. Besides, these vitamins also help in maintaining healthy skin and provide useful calories to the body.

4. Apples - Apples are fruits that help to fill you up and cool down your body at the same time. They contain about 4g of fiber and around 95 calories and are enriched with a soluble fiber called pectin, which stops hunger and helps in shedding weight.

5. Pineapple - Along with banana, cucumber, and some other fruits, pineapple helps to make a healthy smoothie. These ingredients have cooling properties, which hydrate the body and help to clear the heat. Also, pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which reduces inflammation in the body.

Some more tips to help you cool down are as follows:

1. Avoid caffeinated or carbonated beverages, alcoholic beverages, and those high in sugar - All these drinks contain preservatives, colours and sugars. They are acidic in nature and act as diuretics. They cause loss of fluids through urine.

2. Do not drink very chilled liquids - They do not really help cool you down in summers, though they make you cool for some time. Drinking really cold liquids when feeling hot may lead to a slight constriction of the blood vessels in the skin and decrease heat loss, which is not advisable when trying to cool down.

3. Limit all strenuous activity.

4. Eat light, nutritious and non-fatty meals.

5. Reduce intake of heaty vegetables and fruits, like spinach, radish, hot peppers, onions, garlic, beetroot, grapefruit and ripe mangoes (if you cannot resist mangoes, soak them overnight in water).

It’s that time of the year when chai becomes a little less favoured and nimbu-soda is available almost everywhere. Very soon, anything synthetic will be a no-no and cotton will be your go-to fabric. Umbrellas come out to give your sunscreen company, suede shoes get packed away. Yes, summer time is here. And with it, a whole host of skin care issues too. Oily skin gets oilier, and dry skin gets patchy. There are breakouts and pimples, rashes and roughness, and that acne just wouldn’t go away! Just a few simple changes in your everyday skin care regimen can ensure that you are all set to glow through this season too. Here are few summer skin care tips that can come quite handy. We spoke to Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, leading dermatologist and founder of Skin and Hair Clinics for expert advice on tackling the heat.

What does summer do to our skin?

According to Dr. Deepali, warmer temperatures mean it is time to change your skin care routine. The sunny Indian summer can be pretty harsh on your skin if you don't take care of your. So, just like your wardrobe, your skin care too definitely needs a seasonal change.

Too much sun is bad for your skin. Not only can you get tanned (which is not always a bad thing) but over exposure to sun rays can cause premature ageing of skin too. Our skin contains a pigment called melanin and too much exposure to sun causes more melanin to be produced. This is why a prolonged stay under the direct sun can cause a change in your skin colour or even tanning. This is also why sunscreens are recommended irrespective of your skin-type.

Here's a holistic list of summer skincare tips that would help all skin types.

1. Face care

Your face is your identity to the world, so you should look after it 365 days of the year. Summer months though, warrant a special skin care regimen – one that hydrates and keeps it clean and grime-free. Make sure you keep your face clean of dust and sweat through these hot months. A lot of people encounter break-outs and pimples in these months. If you are one of them, make sure you splash your face with water at least 3-4 times every day. No need to use a face wash every time, clean water would do just fine.

Dermatologist Dr Deepali also suggests exfoliation as a method to keep your face clean, "Using a scrub once or twice a week in summers for all skin types is important but, which scrub depends on your skin type. Acne prone skin needs multani mitti (fullers earth), chandan, rose water and basil whereas if you have dry and matured skin you should use egg white, lemon, chandan and curd with a pinch of turmeric and besan too".

2. Use weather appropriate products

The thick creams you were using through the winter months won’t do you any good now. Pack them away or use them for very dry areas of your body like the feet. Summer months need products that let your skin breathe naturally. Go for lighter lotions and serums. Products that block pores can cause more problems.

"Water-based moisturizers work best for normal skin types. For oily skin, gel-based moisturizers are preferred. For extra oily and acne prone skin, stick to facial sprays with minerals good for your skin', says Dr. Deepali. "Natural moisturizers like glycerin and rose water added to the bathing water helps a lot and applying plain curd for 10-15 minutes on all dry areas of the body before bathing works wonders too," she adds.

3. Stick to the basics

You may think your skin cannot get dry during summers but that’s a myth. Moving in and out of air-conditioned areas alone can cause your skin to dry out. This is applicable not just to facial skin but the entire body. Make sure you follow the age old principle of cleaning, toning and moisturizing at night before sleeping. Sweating can cause our skin pores to open up. You need to use a toner (after making sure the skin is clean) to help close these pores. Sticking to the basics during summers is even more important given the UV rays of the sun that could result in premature ageing and wrinkles.

4. Importance of sunscreen

Don't forget to wear sunscreen! UV rays can be harmful for your skin any time of the year, but more so in the summer months when our exposure levels are higher. Pick a sunscreen that gels into your skin and gets absorbed. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended and must be applied 20-30 minutes before you head out into the sun. If you are going to be swimming, then keep re-applying as and when it gets washed out. Sunscreen application can go a long way in minimizing sun related spots and could even help delay the onset of fine lines and wrinkles.

Dr. Deepali suggests changing the brand you use every 6 months. And yes, people with oily skin must apply sunscreens too. “For oily skin, gel-based sunscreen is preferred, while combination and dry skin should use a sunscreen moisturizer with a matte finish if putting make up on it. Alternatively, use a cream based one which gets absorbed well without leaving a residual layer," she says.

5. Natural remedies

Never underestimate what your grandma said! There are ingredients in your kitchen which can help soothe the skin during summer. Lemon and tomato are very good for keeping your skin fresh. A quick way to use tomato is to juice tomatoes (don’t add water) and freeze the juice using your regular ice-trays. Use this as a gentle scrub every alternate day and let the juice dry on the skin before washing it off. The lycopene in tomato does wonders for the facial skin.

6. Don’t forget the eyes and lips

The sun’s rays are the harshest between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. during summer months. Avoid stepping out around these times. If you do step out, make sure your eyes are covered with sunglasses and lips protected with a balm. We often forget that the skin around the eyes is very delicate and needs extra attention. If too much heat is making your eyes burn, then wash them with clean and cold water. A couple of cold cotton pads dipped in potato juice can be soothing too. If the problem persists, do consult a doctor.

7. Maintain hygiene

Overall hygiene can go a long way in tackling the heat. Having a bath twice a day will not only keep your skin fresh, it will also help combat summer lethargy. If you are prone to prickly heat – a bucket-bath with neem leaves can help. People who suffer from body odour can also benefit from regular bathing. Chlorine water can speed up the process of tanning, that is the reason why we tan more in the pool than ordinarily. Make sure you bathe after a swim to get the chlorine off your body.
"Soaking hands and feet in water enriched with a pinch of salt will help boost blood circulation and after that applying a cream rich in urea and Vitamin C should help too," adds Dr Deepali.

8. Eat cooling foods

What we eat has a lot to do with how we look and feel. Eating heavy food is bound to make you sluggish in a weather like this. Additionally, it can make your skin oily and susceptible to breakouts. Go for seasonal fruits and vegetables. Stay away from sugary drinks that are full of calories. Make sure your intake of water is an optimum 8-10 glasses at least. Try vegetable juices and natural alternatives like nariyal pani to hydrate yourself and feel fresh.

9. Wear breathable fabrics

Cotton and lighter fabrics are a must to tackle the heat. Tight clothes can cause irritation and make sweaty parts of the body itch more. Prolonged conditions lead to rashes and sometimes even serious skin infections.

10. Don't fear the sun

Lastly, don’t be afraid of the sun as it is a mood enhancer. Sunlight helps us produce more seratonin – a mood boosting hormone. That’s exactly why days of no sun during winters can make you feel low. Just make sure you balance the outdoor travel with a good skin care regimen and protect yourself from the harmful impact of sun rays.

Have a happy summer!

Popularly known as a relaxing herb, chamomile has been around for eons as a vital apothecary product. Ancient healing practices regard the many medicinal uses and calming effects of this versatile, tiny white-coloured flower. Chamomile belongs to Asteraceae plant family, which is also the aegis of other flowers like sunflower and marigold. Chamomile flower is usually dried up before using it for food, beverage or cosmetic purposes. The fragrant oil extracted from chamomile is widely used in aromatherapy. But, it is its distinct flavour that anoints it as one of the most favoured ingredients in the making of refreshing beverages, especially herbal teas. Not just its taste, its health benefits are also acknowledged and leveraged by the way of healthful, soothing drinks, especially during this ongoing bolstering weather.

Advantages Of Having Chamomile-Based Drinks:

- Chamomile is best known for its tranquilising and sedative attributes that can treat sleeping disorders.
- Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory properties that improves digestion and ensures smooth bowel movements.
- Apigenin, a prominent antioxidant found in chamomile, creates a strong defence against many kinds of cancer.
- Chamomile has proven to very effective in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
Flavanol, another grade of antioxidants, keeps the heart functioning normally.
- Chamomile boosts immunity and helps in weight loss.
- Chamomile is also known to play a huge part in the improvement of skin and hair.

Chamomile is a great non-caffeinated alternative, which stimulates and energises your senses, just like coffee, tea or green tea. It lends a distinctive flavour of earthy and floral undertones that can uplift any drink and make it a delish one.

Here Are Some Refreshments You Can Make At Home With Chamomile:

Chamomile Tea
Boil one cup water and infuse one tbsp chamomile flowers, leaves or one tea bag for 2-3 minutes. Strain and serve hot. You can add sugar or honey if you like your tea sweet.

Chamomile Gin Cocktail
Seep one chamomile tea bag in a glass of hot water. Add one tbsp. honey and let it cool. Then, squeeze half a lemon and gin in the drink and throw in some cucumber slices. Top it with some ice cubes and tipsy, tasty cocktail is ready.

Chamomile Peach Iced Tea
Boil one cup of water with one tbsp. honey. Let it cool; add small cubes of 1-2 peaches and blend the mixture until the peach is completely immersed in the water. Pour it into a glass. Add cold water and ice cubes and enjoy this summer cooler.

Chamomile Strawberry Smoothie
Prepare one cup of chamomile-infused tea and let it sit to cool down. Add one cup of chopped strawberries, 2 tbsps. of yogurt one teaspoon seeds of your choice and blend. Add more water, if required. Have this soothing smoothie with ice and enjoy.

Summer means more drinking than eating. Including chamomile in your beverage diet plan will not only calm your mind and recharge you but will also let you procure its various health benefits.

Dr. Abhijit Kamble
Dr. Abhijit Kamble
BAMS, Family Physician General Surgeon, 14 yrs, Pune
Dr. Mayur Patil
Dr. Mayur Patil
BHMS, Family Physician General Physician, 5 yrs, Pune
Dr. Prashant S Mane
Dr. Prashant S Mane
BAMS, Critical Care Medicine Specialist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Ajita Garud-Shinde
Dr. Ajita Garud-Shinde
MS - Allopathy, Ophthalmologist Eye Specialist, 4 yrs, Pune
Dr. Tushar Ghode
Dr. Tushar Ghode
BDS, Dentist, 6 yrs, Pune