The sun has been beating down on us this whole summer, and while it’s easy to stuff your face with ice cream, doing so will probably just make you feel more lightheaded during a heat wave.
In fact, many of us don’t have an appetite at all in very hot weather. This is because our body is attempting to regulate its temperature by reducing digestion, which generates heat in the body. To keep your cool as the weather soars beyond 30 Celsius, follow these nutritionist-vetted tips.
Drink as much water as possible. This means 6-8 glasses or as much as you can tolerate. You can accomplish this through tap water and drinks like milk, but dairy might way you down in the hot weather.
2. Sports drinks
Drink energy beverages and sports drinks if you’re doing a workout outside. You don’t have to stop exercising completely in a heatwave, but staying hydrated and holding onto your electrolytes is essential. Fill them with ice cubes containing frozen fruit or yummy herbs like mint or basil, to stay cool and get some flavor.
3. Foods with water
Eat light and hydrating foods. They will keep you energized throughout the day. This includes strawberries, melon, lettuce, cucumber, and celery. Who doesn’t love a refreshing glass of cucumber water or a fruit smoothie?
4. Make winter meals summer appropriate
Turn winter entrees into summer ones! Winter meals typically include hydrating (but hot) meals such as oatmeal, soup, and stews. Cool those foods down and use seasonal summer ingredients to stay nourished and keep that thirst quenched. A gazpacho soup will cool you down, as will a pea and mint soup.
5. Soak it all in citrus
Add citrus-based marinades to meat and fish. By doing so, you break down the protein structure and make fiber in these meats more digestible. Plus, who doesn’t love a good citrus rub?
6. Get creative with salad
Salad is your best friend! You can fill it with cool and nutrition ingredients filled with refreshing textures. Many salads also contain hydrating greens which is helpful.
7. Spice is a no-no
Avoid spicy food. If you love that spice in your life, this will probably be a tough one to hear, but eating cloves, Chilli peppers, cinnamon, or other spicy foods can increase your metabolism and prevent cooling effects of everything you digest.
8. Fruits are your savior
Go for hydrating fruits like berries and melons but avoid nuts. They maintain energy but almonds, cashews and walnuts all generate body heat. To combat this, follow one heat wave eating rule: soak your nuts overnight before eating them.
9. Step away from the deep fryer
Fried food is a no-no. It’s tempting to sit on the beach with some beignets or French fries, but all that oil can actually prevent you from proper digestion, and creates a burning feeling in your tummy. That doesn’t sound fun at all in the blazing sun.
10. Decaffeinate your drinks
Go for a cup of iced decaf green tea over caffeine. Sure that iced cappuccino sounds refreshing at first, but coffee created additional heat, and same goes for high caffeine teas or sodas. Decaffeinated options might still have a diuretic effect, so if you keep using the washroom, make sure to replenish the water content.
11. Meal prep in the AM
Try to cook in the early morning or after the sun goes down. Eating at night isn’t too good for your health, so we suggest cooking when you wake up and meal prepping for the day. When you cook between 12 and 4, the sun and temperature is at its strongest, and using a gas stove can heat up the house fast.
12. Tomatoes are bursting with water
Add tomatoes to your salad and breakfast. Tomatoes are 93-94% water depending on the variety, and taste delicious in sandwiches as well.
13. The secret golden powder
Add turmeric to the meals that you cook. Curcumin, the active ingredient in this potent herb, is very anti-inflammatory and has tons of other health benefits as well. This is a fantastic way to cook Indian food without the spice. You can even make a Mac and cheese with turmeric.
14. Stay hydrated with watermelon
Watermelon is the official fruit of the summer. But why? Apart from having a sky high water content, it has an amino acid called citrulline. It dilates blood vessels which in turn allows more blood to circulate around the body, ultimately cooling your body down.
15. Size is everything
Portion control is everything when it comes to handling the heat.. Eat in small, light portions with fresh foods. Don’t overeat in massive portions, or overload those small portions with salt. Doing so will make you feel bloated, heavy, and sweaty.