What Should I Eat When it’s Sweltering Hot Outside?
Now that summer weather has officially arrived, and as my friend Tammy likes to say, it “feels like pea soup outside”, what are the best foods to eat? Which foods will nourish you best in this extreme weather? Following these guidelines will help cool your body and retain your energy during this heat wave and beyond.
1. Drink water. Obvious, I know, but it bears repeating. It is always important that you get enough water in your diet. Water ensures that your body’s systems function optimally. Drinking water also helps to keep your energy levels up. While you may think you crave a cold drink, many ancient healing theories recommend drinking cool or room temperature water. Drinking water with out ice usually means you drink more water (you know this is true if you’ve ever tried to chug ice cold water. Ouch.) Try to get in other forms of water as well. More on that later. Also avoid substances that dehydrate the body. (see tip #2)
2. Cut back on the caffeine. Among other things, caffeine can dehydrate the body, and negate the positive effects of all of that water you’re drinking. You can’t afford to have that happening during the hot summer months, so it’s wise to cut back on coffee and soda. If you must imbibe (and I totally hear that), drink 3 cups of water for every caffeinated beverage. Some ideas for non-caffeinated beverages: iced herbal tea, water flavored with lemon and mint leaves, and my current favorite-the green smoothie (A topic for a future post, but if you need more information right now, see my recent Facebook post or simply Google “Green Smoothie”. Highly trendy these days and I’m sure you’ll find something you’ll like)
3. Go lighter on the fruit than you might want to, and eat more veggies. While fruit on a hot day is mouthwatering, beware if you tend to be sugar sensitive. Eating lots of fruit can lead to blood sugar spikes in susceptible people, and the crash that follows will leave you feeling like a dried-out bug on the hot pavement. Be sure to eat lots of watery veggies like tomato, cucumber, zucchini, celery, bell peppers, and greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach and chard. Try making blended soups with the above veggies for greater water content, and make sure to eat a variety of raw and/or lightly cooked veggies if digesting raw is challenging for you.
4. Get enough potassium. Whether or not you exercise in the heat, you’ll probably sweat more than usual. Excess sweating can throw off your electrolytes. You can avoid this problem by making sure that you get enough potassium in your diet during the summer months. Potassium helps balance your body’s pH and water. Foods high in potassium include: apricots, avocado, banana, lima bean, potatoes, beets, parsnips and lentils.
5. Lighten up your protein. While everyone loves a good summer BBQ, your body uses a lot of energy to digest meat. Choose lighter, plant-based proteins, like beans, legumes, and nuts and seeds to ease the energy load on your body.
6. Listen to your body. Not a food tip per se, but inherently valuable advice nonetheless. Rest when you feel tired. Scale back your usual activity level, especially in the afternoon. Make a cooling mist with essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, geranium, or chamomile and spray on your body, especially the back of your neck and feet.
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