11 foods to eat to help you stay cool

  27 July 2018    Read: 1503
 11 foods to eat to help you stay cool

Sadly, ice cream won't actually do you any favors.

Instead of just a couple of heatwaves, this summer has seen extended periods of exceptionally high temperatures, with many people lamenting the lack of air conditioning in their homes and struggling on overcrowded, sweaty, sticky buses and trains.

And according to experts, this summer’s noticeably high temperatures are likely to become the new normal rather than a one-off.

For some people, this means only one thing: time to indulge in an endless amount of ice creams, Pimm’s and strawberries.

But are these really the best things to consume if you want to cool yourself down?

The food we eat plays a part in regulating our body temperature, and certain food and drinks really can cool you down or warm you up.

Foods with a high water content are your best port of call when you want to stay cool, which means cucumbers - which are 95 per cent water - are an excellent choice. But they're not the only food high in water.

Here are 10 foods with high water contents which will help you cool down in the heat

  • Cucumbers
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelons
  • Courgettes
  • Pineapples
  • Mangos
  • Green peppers
  • Oranges
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Celery

Sadly, as much as you may crave some cool ice cream, eating it may actually make you hotter.

According to scientist Peter Poortvliet from the University of Queensland, our bodies generate heat when trying to digest ice cream and similarly rich foods.

“While it may seem logical that introducing something cold, like ice cream, into the stomach should help reduce temperature, its initial cooling effect is rapidly replaced by heat generated by digestive processes needed to break down the nutrients in ice cream,” he says.

“Digesting calorie-rich food leads to an increase in body temperature.”

However the best thing you can consume in the heat is make sure you're drinking lots of water as well as eating refreshing foods.

“My advice as a dietitian would be to stay hydrated in the heat with cold water; keep a jug in the fridge for ease,” dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine recommends to The Independent.

“I personally love adding ice cubes that contain pieces of lemon or strawberry to not only cool but flavour my water naturally too; they’re so easy to make and it’s a great idea for parties too (I use frozen grapes to cool white or rose wine!).

“If you don’t like iced cold water then you could simply add some cucumber and mint to your water for a flavour boost too.”

Despite how alluring a chilled beer or glass of rosé may be, drinking alcohol will do you no favours in the heat, as booze is severely dehydrating. Caffeine has a similar effect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an iced coffee and stay cool.

“If you love coffee but can’t face a steaming mug I would suggest making an iced latte,” suggests Ludlam-Raine. And instead of buying an expensive one, simply make your own: “Add ice-cubes to a glass and pour over your chosen milk mixed with a teaspoon of coffee granules. I love adding a shot of sugar-free syrup too!” Ludlam-Raine says.

She also recommends keeping hydration levels up by blending fruit with water for a refreshing juice (try carrot and orange water) or mixing yoghurt with fruit and freezing them to make healthy ice-lollies.

According to Poortvliet, the old adage that drinking hot beverages to cool you down rings true: “Although counterintuitive, drinking a warm beverage causes receptors in your mouth and throat to trigger a sweat response, allowing your body to cool down without having to ingest a large amount of the warm liquid.”

 

The Independent


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