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Playing with food

Foods to keep you cool

by Ano Puchalski, staff writer

 

With summer time hot on our heels, people need alternative ways to beat the heat. In addition to the usual swimming at the beach, lounging in air conditioning, or having water balloon fights with friends, consider these 10 appetizing alternatives from Better Homes and Gardens to keep you cool and energize your from the inside out.

 

“Our best bet is to avoid hot foods and heavy meals,” said Sharon Saka, registered dietician in Suffern, N.Y. “Eating smaller amounts more often and staying hydrated is essential.” Saka suggested taking advantage of summer fruits and vegetables, and drinking at least six to eight cups of decaffeinated fluid a day, especially if you are outside and exercising.

Kiwi, Papaya, Raspberry Fruit Salad
These three fruits area a powerful combination loaded with cancer-fighting vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and beta-carotene. Vitamin C is crucial to beefing up our immune system, and studies show it reduces high blood pressure. Kiwi and papaya contain more vitamin C than oranges do. One kiwi has 117 percent of the recommended daily allowances (RDA); papaya contains 313 percent.

Papaya and kiwi also add potassium, which helps your body stay hydrated, regulates your nerves, heartbeat, and blood pressure. This underrated mineral is necessary for normal blood clotting, and it helps your body absorb calcium, which is especially important for people at risk for osteoporosis.

Raspberries contain eight grams of fiber and are rich in vitamin C, in addition to their regulatory qualities. The right amount of fiber in your diet helps reduce the risk of colon cancer and lowers your cholesterol levels. (Recommended serving size: 1 kiwi, 1 medium papaya, 1 cup raspberries)

Chickpeas and Green Salad
Substitute lettuce with spinach and get a Popeye-size dose of iron. Add chickpeas are high in protein and fiber and provide 20 percent of your body’s daily folate needs. Folate helps your body produce red blood cells and has been proven to prevent birth defects. Chickpeas are also rich in vitamin B6, which aids in the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and has been used by nutritionists for PMS relief. Mix in some cherry or grape tomatoes and get even more fiber, plus 19 percent vitamin A. (Recommended serving size: 1/3 cup of chickpeas, 3.5 oz. of spinach, 3.5 oz. of tomatoes)

Fruit Smoothies or Ice Pops
Blend papaya, kiwi, and raspberries with some crushed ice, or put a pureed fruit mixture into ice-pop molds and freeze them overnight, for a fast food treat.

Crushed pineapple is a great frozen fruit snack and another good source of vitamin C and thiamin. Thiamin helps release the energy from carbohydrates and ensures that the brain and nerves have enough glucose. (Recommended serving size: 1 kiwi, 1 medium papaya, 1 cup raspberries, ½ cup crushed pineapple)

Tuna or Chicken Salad in a Green Pepper
A scoop of tuna or chicken salad in a green pepper (or any colored pepper) is a quick and simple summertime snack. In addition to the protein in tuna and chicken, you get fiber from the pepper, along with 159 percent of the RDA for vitamin C and some vitamin A too. Vitamin A, or retinol, is essential for healthy vision, skin, and growth. (Recommended serving size: 2 oz. of canned tuna or chicken, 1 tablespoon low-fat mayo, 1 green (or any color) pepper)


Cantaloupe and Ricotta Cheese
Cantaloupes contain 108 percent vitamin A RDA and 98 percent vitamin C. Ricotta cheese is a good source of protein and contains 17 percent calcium, equal to drinking a ½ cup of milk. Ricotta is a delicious substitute for cottage cheese and is lower in sodium and calories. (Recommended serving size: 1 cup cantaloupe, ¼ cup part-skim ricotta, 1 slice whole wheat bread, 1 small whole wheat pita)

 
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