Advice of the dietician: what to eat in summer?

Advice of the dietician: what to eat in summer?

Publication date: 28-06-2024

Updated on: 03-07-2024

Topic: Nutrition

Estimated reading time: 1 min

Intense heat has arrived. So, let's find out what to eat in summer and what are the tips for our summer diet, starting with hydration, thanks to the help of the expert Dr. Alessandro Saibene, head of the Clinical Nutrition Area of ​​the Diabetes and Endocrine Metabolic Medicine Unit at Ospedale San Raffaele.

Importance of hydration

"It is essential to hydrate, especially during the summer season (but not only!). In fact, the water reserves of our body, which on average consist of 60% water, must be preserved because they play an important role of regulating body temperature. 

When outdoor temperatures are higher and sweating is more intense, we use up our water “reserves” more quickly; to fight the heat while preserving our ability to lower our internal temperature, we then need to reintroduce fluids," the expert explains.

What to drink

The first important advice is to drink plenty of water. Ideally each of us should drink approximately 1.5-2 liters of water per day; to make taking this quantity easier and more practical, it is recommended to divide the amount of water by drinking less water at a time but more often. 

To reach the daily goal, 8 glasses of water are enough!

What not to drink

"However, although consuming fluids is essential, it is good to remember to avoid or limit as much as possible the consumption of sugary drinks (such as juices, iced tea, carbonated beverages, etc.) because they contain a lot of sugar, the excess of which can contribute to the onset of: 

  • type 2 diabetes;
  • overweight;
  • obesity. 

Consumption of alcoholic beverages should also be limited: they are high-calorie substances, which are translated into fat, and vasodilators, which increase the feeling of heat resulting in increased sweating and dehydration," says the doctor.

Benefits of fruit and vegetables in summer

You can also hydrate by eating, especially through vegetables and fruit. In fact, these foods consist mostly of water, accounting for 80 percent of their composition up to and in some cases exceeding 90 percent. 

In addition, fruit and vegetables, especially when fresh and in season, contain many nutrients, minerals and vitamins that contribute to the proper functioning of our bodies. 

Which and how many vegetables to eat

As for vegetables, it is always preferable to favor seasonal ones such as lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, beet. 

We also remember that, in the absence of particular pathologies, there is no limit to the quantity of vegetables that can be consumed and it is recommended to consume: 

  • raw vegetables, which preserve more of their nutritional properties;
  • cooked vegetables, which allow us to consume them in greater quantities. 

Preferred fruit

With respect to fruit, however, the following are especially recommended in summer: strawberries, peaches, cherries, berries, apricots, loquats, figs.

"Other seasonal fruits include melon and watermelon, which, however, since they are not portioned per se as they are divided into slices by us, should be consumed in moderation. 

All fruits in general should be consumed without exaggeration," the doctor asserts, "especially because of the sugars they contain, which can promote the onset of obesity and type 2 diabetes".

Which other foods to eat and avoid in summer

During hot weather, it is also preferable to avoid fatty foods such as butter, cream and margarines, which sit in the stomach for a long time, slowing down the digestive process. 

As a condiment, extra virgin olive oil is recommended, preferably raw, because it retains its nutritional properties. 

Consumption of cold foods

It is preferable to consume cold foods, which help us counteract the heat. 

Special attention should be paid to ice cream, which is considered the ultimate cold food in summer: 

  • it must be consumed in moderation;
  • it must be intended as an “extra” and never as a meal replacement;
  • it must be as high-quality as possible. 

Meat and fish

Meat and fish also continue to be part of the summer diet but, with the heat, additional care must be taken when preserving them: due to the high temperatures these foods deteriorate more easily. 

Attention should therefore be paid to the state of preservation and any label indicating the expiration date on the packaging.

Whole grain foods

Whole grain foods, not only in summer, should be preferred to refined foods. Therefore, reduce the consumption of "white" rice, bread and pasta and replace them with whole grain carbohydrates, which, containing fiber:

  • protect the gastric mucosa;
  • counteract the onset of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.

Finally, again in general, remember that it is always recommended to fractionate food intake throughout the day: eating 5 meals a day improves our metabolic picture and helps us keep our weight under control. 

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