Counteracting the hot, sticky summertime heat can seem like a hopeless task. Cleaning the pool or packing for the beach almost becomes more trouble than it’s worth. Don’t let yourself become chained to your air conditioner this summer: beat the heat with what you eat!
Since you have to nourish yourself anyway, why not do it with foods that will help you stay cool and energized? While you’re at it, try to make a conscious effort to avoid the foods that will only make it all worse.
Certain foods can cause your body to seriously stagnate. Your system slows down, your energy stalls, and your internal organs have to work extra hard to get everything moving smoothly again. That’s going to warm you from the inside out. To avoid stagnation, it’s best to stay away from nuts, meats, eggs, and other dairy products. You might also want to limit your intake of seeds and whole grains at this time of year. Also, super chilly iced drinks and ice cream aren’t going to be your best bet. Although they feel soothing in your mouth, they actually contract the stomach and slow digestion, causing that internal furnace to kick in.
Raw fruits and veggies are great in the summer; and they’re so easy! Who wants to be stuck in a hot kitchen? Salads and fruit bowls are tasty, cooling, and easy to prepare. Berries and cucumbers are especially good choices. Berries are full of antioxidants, low in sugar, and are readily available during the summer months. Cucumbers are high in nutrients, low in calories, and have been proven to reduce skin irritation and swelling. Fresh sprouts are another great option. Sprouts are rich in vitamin C, full of vital energy, and add a great crunchy flavor to salads and sandwiches.
Spice It Up
A moderate amount of spicy flavors can actually help cool you down. Spices like fresh ginger, cayenne or black pepper will temporarily increase your internal warmth, but serve to disperse the heat on the body’s surface, ultimately cooling you. Of course, other flavorful additions, like mint or chamomile have a more immediate cooling effect.
Love Your Liquids
Keeping fully hydrated by drinking plenty of water is of paramount importance. Many symptoms of excess summer heat (dizziness, fatigue, lack of concentration) are attributable to a state of chronic dehydration. It’s especially important to get plenty of water when engaging in outdoor summer activities. As your sweat cools your skin, you lose more and more water. Gatorade or other “sports drinks” won’t cut it, either. Full of unnecessary sugars and sodium, they’re apt to just make the situation worse.
A bit of common sense and a diet sprinkled with proven cooling foods can help you stay comfortable this summer. Wear your sunscreen and enjoy these lazy hazy days!