KEEPING cool is the main thought on everyone's mind at the moment as the temperatures continue to soar.
But help is at hand in choosing summer menus, thanks to a survey conducted in the Balearics which shows that salads, lettuce, tomatoes, gazpacho (a cold tomato soup) and beer take pride of place in the fridge and on the table.
Fresh and natural is the secret for keeping cool, according to Balearic consumers, 53 percent of whom opt for salads.
Twenty-nine percent put their trust in tomatoes and 27 percent in lettuce and an overwhelming 75 percent listed beer as their favourite drink.
The people consulted in the survey were asked what foods could always be found in their fridges in the summer months.
Gazpacho can be found in 11 percent of the homes, and local cheeses in five percent.
Fifty-five percent of those consulted said that there was no place for hot soups in the summer menus, and 40 percent also stopped serving dishes such as stews or heavy dishes featuring legumes.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Dr Jesús Román Martinez, chairman of the Spanish Society of Diet and Food Sciences, said the results reflected the healthy Mediterranean diet.
He did not show any surprise at the choice of beer as the favourite summer tipple, saying this was because of its recognised nutritional properties and its association with typical summer social and gastronomical customs.
The second most popular drink was colas (71 percent), followed by fruit juices (46 percent) and other soft drinks (40 percent).
The survey revealed that the most popular occasions for drinking beer were at lunch or dinner (25 percent), or when friends and relatives popped round for a visit or to watch a soccer match on TV.
Favourite desserts were watermelon (60 percent), melon (58 percent) and peaches (28 percent).
The classical Mediterranean diet comprises olive oil, cereals, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, dairy products, fish, some meat and moderate consumption of fermented drinks such as wine and beer.
Doctors say it provides minerals, vitamins and fibre as well as natural anti-oxidants which prevent premature ageing.