Heatwave: ASK KOMAL: How To Cope

Dietician Komal Jethmalani provides expert help.

Dear Readers, are you worried about your health?

Concerned about what you and your family are eating?

Struggling with weight gain?

Or are you facing other heath issues like diabetes, blood pressure, joint pain or heart problems?

Please mail your questions to Nutritionist Komal Jethmalani (Subject: Ask Komal) for her advice.

Dear Komal,
How does this on-going heatwave impact the body? It has never been so hot as it is now.
Can you suggest a good diet to keep the body cool for different age groups?
Also, my in-laws have diabetes.
Thank you,

The heat wave is affecting everyone.

Heat-related issues can range from mild conditions such as a rash and irritability. It can involve dehydration, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. It can also lead to serious conditions such as heatstroke.

Hydration is the key to coping with this kind of heat.

Drink plenty of water and refreshing fluids like lemon water, kokum water, fennel seed water, mint water, coconut water, etc.

The addition of natural probiotics like curd and buttermilk will strengthen the gut which is of prime importance in this weather.

Eating healthy, juicy, seasonal fruits like watermelon, muskmelon, mangoes, lychees, etc, will prove beneficial as they are a good source of antioxidants and a good energy source to avoid dehydration.

Diabetics must ensure they consume carbohydrate rich foods in moderation and benefit from their nutritional value.


Hi Komal,
Is quinoa better than grains like ragi and other Indian millets?
Are there any circumstances under which millets should be avoided?

Quinoa is a pseudo cereal.

It is rich in complete protein, fibre, essential vitamins like folate, essential minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium and contains excellent antioxidants.

It serves well in a gluten free diet with a good balance of nutrients.

Millets are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, etc, but do not have complete protein.

Quinoa provides all the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot produce on its own.

Millets can be avoided in conditions where fibre intake is restricted — like for those who have a weak gut — as they can cause delayed digestion.

Millets are advised in moderate amounts because excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects as the cereals contain substances that interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland.


Dear Komal
In this heat, it is difficult to eat.
I am diabetic but I love eating fruits.
Is it okay to be on a predominantly fruit diet if one does not have fruit juice?
Thank you,

Fruits are healthy sources of energy, fibre and vitamins and excellent sources of antioxidants.

Although they can be refreshing due to their juicy nature in this heat wave, excessive consumption of fruits will lead to more calories from the simple sugar, fructose, that’s predominantly present in them.

Moderation is the key.

Enjoy the sweet and juicy seasonal fruits in small portions but include lots of vegetables, salads, water and summer drinks to quench your thirst and feel refreshed and energised.


Dear Komal,
I am a hardcore non-vegetarian. I cannot eat if there is no non-veg food. At least egg has to be there.
Many of friends are telling me this is bad for my health. Is it true?
If yes, how often can one eat non-veg? One non-veg meal a day is ok?

Lean meat is an excellent source of high biological value protein, many essential vitamins and minerals. It provides good endurance and strength to our body when consumed in moderate portions.

For those who do high intensity workouts, a high protein intake is essential and lean meat is a good contributor.

Although, as meat contains a lot of saturated fat, the total quantity intake needs to be considered for those at high risk because of metabolic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular ailments, kidney or liver dysfunctions.

Eggs are a good source of whole protein, calcium, iron etc. Again, its intake — especially of egg yolk — needs to be moderate due to its high cholesterol content.


Hello Komal,
Please advise what kind of strict diet I can follow post cholecystectomy operation, which is
the surgical removal of the gallbladder.
I have undergone this surgery due to certain persistent stone issues a few months back.
I have heard that there will be an impact on the liver.
How do I have an overall balance of diet and also keep my weight under control post surgery.
Tauseef Ahmed

Maintaining of a healthy diet is important after any surgery.

Drink plenty of water. Have coconut water, lemon water, sattu drink, etc.  Include natural probiotics like curd and buttermilk in your diet.

Strictly avoid fried foods, high-fat foods like beef, pork, cheese, full cream dairy products, foods with strong odours and gas-causing foods. Have small, frequent meals. 

Add fibre-rich foods like nuts, whole grain cereals, cabbage, cauliflower, legumes, etc, gradually in your diet as they can produce gas in the abdomen if consumed in large amounts. .

Do light exercises like walking. Avoid lifting heavy weights or any strenuous activities.

  • You can read all of Komal Jethmalani’s columns here. 

Komal Jethmalani is a dietician with over 25 years of experience in food, nutrition and dietetics, with an MSc in food science and nutrition.

A certified diabetes educator and lifestyle coach, specialising in diabetic, cardiovascular, weight loss and various therapeutic diets, she consults under the brand The Diet Mantra.

And she will try and help you achieve your dietary and fitness goals through healthy lifestyle changes.

Do share your complete health details including age, weight, height and health issues if any.

Write to [email protected] (Subject: Ask Komal), along with your name.

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