Living the WELL Life

Top Ten Ways to Beat the Heat

Friday, July 11, 2014

The days are heating up…summer is so-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o here. And we love every steamy moment of it.

We do love summer, right?

There are ways to eat the help us manage the heat and humidity that is the signature of what seems like one long outdoor party. Choosing your foods wisely at this time of year will help you to stay calm, cool and collected. There’s no reason at all to wilt and wither.

Here’s my Top Ten Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

1. Eat Lighter.
It’s hot and steamy, my lovelies. Time to lighten up. You surely won’t crave the same heavy meals in the summer that you come the chilly winter. Several lighter meals spaced throughout the day really can keep you cooler. It works like this. After eating, the thermic effect of food takes place, meaning our body temperature rises as we digest the food- the bigger and heartier the meal, the greater this effect. But feel free to spice it up. Sure, hot foods make you sweat but that helps cool you down in the long run.

2. Munch On Your Water. 
It’s a fact. 20-30% of your fluid needs should be met through moisture-rich foods like fruits and veggies. Not only yummy, but these foods can help you stay hydrated and cool throughout the summer. With water content as high as 85% in some cases, opt for foods like watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, grapefruit, broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers and cabbage.

3. Cool as a Cucumber.
Food can cool you down in more ways than just eating it. Look at the humble cucumber with its cooling properties that are great for the skin as well. On a hot day, when you are feeling flushed, skip the masks and compresses. Simply slice a cucumber thinly and lay the slices over your eyes and on your wrist pulse points. Rest for 10 minutes or until the cucumber no longer feels cold. Finish the process by splashing your face with cold water and drying gently with a clean, soft towel. Moisturize and you are…well…cool as a cucumber.

4. Skip the Margaritas and Mojitos.
As appealing as they sound, exotic and tropical, summertime cocktails can dehydrate you.

I know what you’re thinking. How boring, right? If water seems too bland to get the party started, make fancy ice cubes. It’s so easy! Place fresh or frozen berries, grapes or melon chunks in old school ice cube trays and add water to create some seriously groovy ice cubes. Pour sparkling water over some of these for a really refreshing…and festive drink….with a piece of frozen fruit to crunch on!

5. Eat Cooling Foods.
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that some foods have cooling, relaxing properties, while other foods have warming properties. And they’re not just referring to body temperature, but also the type of energy in the body. Symptoms of hot energy in the body include flushed face or cheeks, irritability, and indigestion, while a few symptoms of cold energy include: fatigue, weakness, and restlessness. Eating the right warming or cooling foods can help balance out this energy. And did I mention the foods on the cooling food list also yummy on a hot summer day?

Try bamboo shoot, banana, grapefruit, lettuce, persimmon, salt, seaweed, star fruit, water chestnut, watermelon, lotus root, cucumber, barley, bean curd, marjoram, pear, peppermint, radish, strawberry, tangerine, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, pineapple, and turmeric.

6. Frozen Treats. 
Something ice cold always sounds good on a hot day, but skip the ice cream, water ice, frozen yogurt and popsicles can land on your hips and tummy. Try freezing your favorite fruits and veggies. I think one of the best parts of summer is frozen grapes! This sort of snack on hot days is a nutritious way to cool down. Hint: frozen English peas and raspberries (not together…LOL) just melt in your mouth.

7. Chew On Mint
Fresh mint can be grown in the garden and provides an instant cooling sensation. Just a whiff of its aroma and you feel cool and refreshed. Chewing on it feels like a cool breeze. Plus, it's a zero-calorie way to freshen any salad, dressing, drink or snack.

8. Give a Spritz.
Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot and steamy, give yourself a refreshing spritz. It regulates your internal ‘thermometer.’ As the water evaporates from your skin, it cools you. For the best results, simply spritz your face, wrists and behind your knees. Deliciously cooling.

9. Ditch Your Shoes.
Kicking off your shoes may mean the end of the day or time to chill. But did you know it literally chills you? The sweat evaporates from your feet, cooling the skin and blood, leaving you with a fabulous sensation of coolness.

10. Fake a Cold Compress. 

You will love this. Fill a cotton sock with any kind of rice and tie it closed with twine. Place the filled sock in the freezer two hours before your bedtime. Right before bed, slide it between the sheets. Since rice retains its cold for a long period (it's dense and starchy), it leaves the sheets refreshingly cool. 

The reverse works well, too, by the way. When it’s freezing out, pan toast rice until it’s hot and place it in the sock; tie shut and slide between the sheets before bed. Rice also can hold heat, making the bed toasty warm when you tuck in.

But that’s for another season. Let’s not think about that right now…

Happy…healthy…hydrated summer!


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