While the summer is getting warmer day by day, people are getting more lethargic, and thus, some people avoid preparing food at home and tend to eat more outside food. That might not only affect the body but could also cause other health related problems in the long run. Therefore, managing summer heat does not just mean what to eat but also what not to eat, which is equally important for one to know.
Pre-cooked rice items like biryani, fried rice: These food items are kept prepared and just warmed before serving; this can cause food items to get spoilt quickly because of the heat. At times, the containers are left uncovered, flies, mosquitoes and other moths sit on it for hours.
If one has cooked rice in the morning or in the evening, it should not be stored for a longer duration especially outside, during summer, which can spoil the food item and can cause food poisoning or other health problems.
Pani puri, golas, sherbet, buttermilk and fruit juices: When it comes to pani puri be it any part of the country, there are hunger pangs for this roadside delicacy. However, there are many risk factors that can affect one’s health, as the water used is often contaminated when left in the open. The hands of the stall person may or may not be cleaned while they are serving.
This can lead to various gastric infections or one may fall prey to water borne diseases during this season.
Golas should be avoided, as it is uncertain for how long and under what conditions the ice has been stored and made. As for fruit juices, it is not known if the fruits used are fresh and how long ago they have been peeled and kept open; this can lead to infections of the stomach and gastric tract.
Sliced fruit platter: Fruits are usually a must-have during the season of summer. However, fruits that are cut and served as fruit salads at various markets come at a risk. Germs that breed in such places or dust that might fall onto the fruit slices, can affect the body at large. One must avoid having fruit salads outside and rather buy and store fruits at home, which are a healthier option. Opting for seasonal fruits is also recommended.
Pre-cooked meat products like tandoori and kebabs: We all have cravings for various foods at some point during the summers. However, meats preparations like tandoor, which are made at stalls on the roadside, are not a healthy option.
These are often left uncovered which makes it a breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes, apart from the fact that dust settles on them. These could also be undercooked and overly spiced and artificially coloured to make it more attractive to the patrons.
This could lead to infections, such as upset stomach, food poisoning etc. When you have crabs, squid and prawns, excessive body heat is generated and thus must be avoided during the summer.
Preparations which include curries, such as tikkis, pav bhaji: Food items like pav bhaji are now made and served everywhere in the city. However, the pav served to you might not be of a good quality and may be stored for days, before it is consumed.
The spices used to make the preparation, generates a lot of body heat, which has an effect on our body. The vegetables used for this preparation may not be cleaned properly and may be frozen for months, before being utilised, this ups the risk of gastrointestinal infections.
Avoid seafood, if possible: Seafood (especially crabs) in general causes upset stomach, irrespective of the season and is also most common source for allergic reaction; this also stands true for prawns. If you are indulging in these, washing, deveining and cooking them properly is of utmost importance.
Food poisoning does not need immediate medical attention. It can be managed by hydrating well, to prevent dehydration; one can have plenty of liquids, ORS solutions, etc. You need to seek medical attention when the symptoms worsen or if you are unable to tolerate anything orally. Home remedies for this would be hydration, avoid excessive oily and spicy food, practice good hand hygiene, and consume bland diet till symptoms improve.
Therefore, one must avoid having street food this season. Staying away from the aforesaid food items will ensure that you stay healthy. It is advisable to have home cooked and fresh food items along with plenty of vegetables this summer.
The author is the Head of Department for Emergency and Trauma at Fortis Hospital, Kalyan