Are you looking for a refreshing drink to quench your thirst this summer?
Climate change, hotter summers, and longer heat waves do impact our health and well-being.
Thinking before you reach out for that cola drink or the fruit juices that come in packages is essential. The caffeine in some of these can worsen dehydration, and the sugars can rocket your blood sugar level to unhealthy highs. Instead, why not reach out for something that refreshes you and, at the same time, helps support your digestive or gut health.
Summertimes can be particularly wicked on your gut. Studies have shown that a hot climate can increase your risk of gut illnesses such as gastroenteritis. They can also alter the gut’s microbial composition, which can compromise your immunity. Dehydration due to the heat can also result in constipation and reduced digestion.
Probiotic drinks are packed with live and active cultures that can help promote a healthy gut, essential for optimal digestion and overall wellness.
Here are three delicious healthy Indian summer coolers to help you stay hydrated and support your gut health.
Plain buttermilk though rich in probiotics, can be boring. Here’s our oomphed-up version of this Indian favourite that also provides you with additional protein.
1 cup plain yoghurt
3 cups cold water
2 tbsp sattu powder
½ green chilli
1/2 inch ginger
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp black salt (kala namak)
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp chaat masala
coriander or mint for garnish
Blend all the above-given ingredients in a blender and serve chilled.
Summer Beet Kanji
Traditionally made for winter, who said it cannot help cool the summers? Spices such as cumin and fennel seeds give it a summery twist. The fermentation process ensures a drink filled with active cultures that your gut will be grateful for.
2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 large beetroot
1.5 litres room temperature drinking water
1 (2 litres) jar/bottle (sterilised)
sparkling water (optional)
Wash, scrub and peel the beetroots. Cut them lengthwise into long pieces. Dry roast the spices and grind them into a fine powder. In a thoroughly cleaned glass bottle, add beetroots add all the other ingredients, along with the ground spice powder. Add the water and cover the mouth of the glass bottle with a muslin cloth. Keep it in the sun. In about 2-3 days, a delicious pink-hued probiotic-rich kanji will be ready to beat the heat. Store in the refrigerator to prevent further fermentation and sourness. You can dilute it further with sparkling water for that fizzy feel.
Prebiotic Instant Aam Panna
For folks looking for that sweet rush and cannot wait, here is an instant one. Prebiotics are fibres that serve as food for the gut bacteria and nurture a healthy gut. Raw mangoes and jaggery are sources of prebiotics, so here is our twist on the popular aam panna, which is usually a cooked version.
½ cup raw mango – peeled and cubed (totapuri variety recommended)
1 cup ripe mango – peeled and cubed
2 tbsp jaggery
2 tsp roasted cumin
½ tsp pepper powder
½ tsp black salt (kala namak)
salt to taste
handful of mint leaves
few ice cubes
1 cup water or sparkling water
Mix all the ingredients in a mixer grinder and grind to a smooth paste. Check for seasoning and adjust consistency with water or sparkling water. Serve chilled.
So why not give your body a boost this season with these gut-friendly drinks? Whether you’re looking to cool down after a workout or just need a refreshing pick-me-up on a hot day, a probiotic drink is the perfect choice. And with all the health benefits that probiotics and prebiotics can provide, you can feel good about every sip!
Dr. Sripriya Venkiteswaran (Ph D. Nutritional Sciences)
Head of Content, Cuddles Institute of Clinical Nutrition