Summer is in full sway and the first flavour to hit the head is that of heat!

It’s only understandable to bear the heat of the scorching season first, before savouring what else it has to offer. So as the May sun peaks and temperatures reach a crescendo, it’s incredibly important to understand what your body might be wanting.

As the open air gets unbearable, we all venture indoors to the comforts of air conditioners. However, air conditioning, as it turns out, is a major cause of dehydration. It reduces atmospheric humidity, which leads to higher water loss through the skin and from lungs. So even though the fluid loss is not equal to what the body sustains outdoors, it is imperative to consume hydrating summer foods and drinks to avoid fatigue, dizziness, cramps, and heat strokes.

Water is bliss (not just the aerated variety), and so are cooling drinks like coconut water. If you want to go beyond the routine, whip up some natural fruit-tails: watermelon puree with a little lemon juice, mint and lemon concoctions, raw mango juice with a tinge of spices and mint, and green tea lemonade. A few sips of these through the day will keep you content, cool and revived.

What you eat also determines how active you remain during summers. Reducing meat intake and going green with an abundance of alkalizing fruits and vegetables available in the season helps you naturally get rid of toxins from acidic foods of winter. Hailed as one of the world’s healthiest foods, the ever-humble cucumber offers cooling properties beyond goodness. Okra, bottle and bitter gourds, and pumpkin are excellent for the gut, and are easily digested. Laden with vitamins to keep you going through the heat, melons, berries, pineapples, plums and litchis are all great summer fruits. And not to forget, the king: mango. With health benefits ranging from fighting cancer to warding off heat strokes, and a taste that seeps temptation, the mango is lip-smacking as a fruit, drink (juices, shakes, Aam Panna) or dessert (ice creams, puddings, cakes).

As temperatures soar, fresh flavours come alive in vegetarian delicacies like Aam ki Launji, Khatta Meetha Kumra and Paneer Shyaam Tulsi during Grishma Ritu Khaasa at ITC Grand Chola throughout May. ITC Grand Central marks the arrival of the king of fruits with a lavish dessert spread during Mangonia 16th May to 22nd May.

Allow your palate to discover cooling flavours in the throes of summer.