Air conditioning. An ocean breeze. Food? Yes, food can play a role in helping to keep your cool as the temperatures rise.
It’s also important to stay hydrated, as heat increases the rate at which we perspire, causing us to lose fluid - along with minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium - in the process.
“Drinking the right liquids and eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can really make a difference in helping you to beat the heat”, says Luigi Gratton, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Herbalife. “Not only do these foods help to replace fluids and minerals that are lost through perspiration”, Gratton notes, “but fruits and veggies also contain antioxidants that can help protect your body against sun damage, too.”
Next time the heat is getting you down, here are some of the best foods to help you keep your cool:
- Cantaloupe - Nothing says summer like melons. They’re all great sources of potassium, but cantaloupe has nearly three times the potassium found in watermelon. And, cantaloupe gets its orange hue from a beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant
- Berries - Too much sun? Sweet, delicious berries naturally contain compounds related to aspirin that can reduce inflammation, and may help take the sting out of sunburn. They’re also a great source of antioxidant vitamin C.
- Spinach - Leafy spinach has lots of water and is a terrific source of magnesium. Further, spinach gets its green color from lutein – an antioxidant that helps protect the skin and eyes from sun exposure.
- Chili peppers - Hot foods during hot weather? You bet. Those vitamin-C laden spicy peppers can stimulate perspiration – which, as it evaporates off the skin, helps to cool you off. If you’re not a chili pepper fan, other pungent foods like garlic and ginger have similar beneficial effects.
- Sports drinks - Plain water is a great fluid replacer, but if you are exercising in hot and humid conditions, sports drinks might be a better choice. They help replace valuable minerals and electrolytes and they’re specially designed to help maximize fluid absorption. And, their light, sweet flavor might encourage you to drink a little more.
Susan Bowerman is a consultant to Herbalife.