Eat to beat the heat
Staying comfortable in the heat of summer is about more than just sunscreen and sunhats. What you put into your body is just as important as what you put onto it when it comes to staying cool and healthy.
Food and fluids can play a key role in your summertime health routine, because staying hydrated and cool is critical when the mercury soars. In the past we’ve provided tips for safely dealing with periods of extreme summer heat. In addition to this important advice, we have some great and delicious ideas to help keep you cool as a cucumber.
Foods that cool you down
It’s pretty convenient that some of the most hydrating fruits and vegetables happen to ripen exactly when we are most likely to become dehydrated. Melons, cucumbers, celery, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes are all great at helping to keep you hydrated – which allows your body to be more effective at releasing heat.1 Eat them raw to get the maximum benefits. Dig into a tomato fresh off the vine, slice up a sweet Honeydew, or try one of these chilled, raw recipes:
Smoothies are also a great summer drink because they can be packed with nutritious fruits and lots of cool, hydrating liquid. Just makes sure you’re not adding ice cream, syrup, sweetened yogurt, or sugar-laden fruit punches to your smoothies, and they can be a very healthy summer drink option.
- Leafy greens
Leafy green salads are a great meal on a hot day when you don’t want to heat up the house by turning on the stove. In addition to being crisp and refreshing, greens are blood thinners, which means they can help your body release heat and cool down.2 To make them a satisfying meal, add grilled fish or chicken and serve with a loaf of crusty bread. Check out green salad ideas from the following sites:
- Spicy food
It might seem strange, but spicy foods can actually help to cool you down.3 Sweating is the body’s means of lowering its internal temperature, and spicy food can certainly make you sweat! Just be aware that spicy food will temporarily raise your body temperature, so if it’s extremely hot outside, it might be best to lay off the added heat.4 It’s not something everyone enjoys, but if you’re a fan, try the hot and spicy recipes from these sites:
Foods to avoid when it’s hot
As mentioned, if it’s extremely hot out you might want to avoid spicy foods. It’s also important to avoid diuretic foods that flush water out of the body because staying hydrated is critical when it’s hot outside. Coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol should be limited or avoided, and mangos, fennel, artichokes and asparagus should stay off your dinner plate too.5
Foods that are very high in protein make the body work harder during digestion, so ease off the meat during a heat wave and stick to more easily digestible carbohydrates like fruit.
Check out Spoon University for 13 more foods that will keep you cool, and for more tips to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy this summer read our articles on summer safety and safe summer fun.
415246E CAN/US (07/17)