You knew this already, but it's worth repeating. "The big issue in heat waves is water," says Marion Nestle, a leading Professor of Nutrition at New York University. "The thirst mechanisms get confused and it's easy to become dehydrated and difficult to replace water lost through sweating." Sip water all day or take frequent water breaks.
The more you eat the more heat you generate, so try a few smaller size meals rather than one big one.
Eating fruits are not a substitute for drinking water, but during a heat wave the higher the water content the better. Watermelons, strawberries, apples and cantaloupes are all good choices. Nutritionist Cyndie Burkhardt suggests throwing some grapes in the freezer overnight and snacking on them the next day.
Again, not a substitute for drinking water, but vegetables can also help cool you down. Basic salads are a perfect choice. Lettuces, cucumbers, celery, spinach and peppers are all over 90% water. Cyndie Burkhardt says color can help guide you. "In general, green, blue and purple vegetables and fruits are more cooling than their red, orange and yellow counterparts."
Eating a scotch bonnet pepper in 100 degree heat may sound masochistic, but hot peppers make you sweat - which then cools you down. If setting your mouth on fire isn't appealing, adding some milder jalapenos to a dish may be the better option.
Many sports drinks have added salt and according to Marion Nestle, "most people are not salt depleted, they are water depleted." The more salt you eat the more water you need to drink to deal with it.
These may seem like bad choices for hot weather, but Marion Nestle isn't going to wrestle your gin and tonic away from you. "It depends on who you are. If you get jittery with caffeine, it's obviously not a good idea. I find that a little alcohol goes a long way in hot weather, but that's just me."
According to Cyndie Burkhardt, "Yin foods have more cooling properties in their affect on our body temperature, as opposed to warming Yang foods." Some fruits and vegetables to avoid are cabbage, onions, garlic, parsnip, leeks, cherries and dates. Warming spices include bay leaf, cinnamon and dill.
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