Cool Down with Food

Baby it’s HOT outside and, when it’s this hot, we all just want to cool down. Here are some food tips to keep you more comfortable in the rising temps.

A Hint of Mint.

Not only does it cleanse your palate, but mint gives an all-over refreshing feeling. Add fresh mint to your water, lemonade, sorbet or fruit salad. Mint also refreshes the skin and leaves a nice cooling sensation, so don’t forget to use minty products to cool your skin, too! Rub on some peppermint lotion (avoid eyes/face – trust me), shower with peppermint soap, use a minty foot soak or try a mint body powder.

Spice it up!

Ever wonder why people in hotter regions of the world eat spicy food? Spicy food increases perspiration, which cools the body as it evaporates. The spices are also an automatic reminder to drink plenty of fluids. It also can cause a pleasant endorphin rush that may help you not focus on the heat – from the sun that is, not the food. So, toss some crushed red pepper flakes or use some products from Chester County’s Chile Spot Unique Chile Pepper Products your cool pasta salads for a kick.

Freezer Tag.

There are many foods we eat at room temperature that are even better frozen. Too hot for healthy eating? Try a pop tart ice cream sandwich (here are recipes and cool combos) or freeze your favorite candy bars for an indulgent heat break.

Some of my favorite frozen healthier options include freezing a Yoplait Whipped Yogurt for a do-it-yourself tasty frozen yogurt. Or pop fruit, like grapes or blueberries, into the freezer to make a refreshing and delicious mini treat. And don’t forget veggies – my dogs love frozen peas; they eat them up and it helps cool them down.

Make your own AC with H2O.

Get 1 or more 3-liter bottles, fill them mostly full of water, freeze them, then place them in a large bowl (to catch condensation). Position a fan in front of them, blowing toward you. As the ice in the bottles melts, it cools the the air. The fan will blow that air toward you. The water in the bottles can be frozen and used repeatedly.

Cool as a Cucumber:

The ladies out there have likely done the cucumber trick to keep the swelling down on their eyes, but if you stick a thin piece of cold cucumber (from the fridge or a cooler) in the middle of your forehead it feels fantastic on a hot day and works almost immediately.

Avoid Alcoholic, Caffeinated  and Sugary Drinks.

Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar – these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.

Drink lots of cool, non-alcoholic fluids. If you’re exercising or working, drink 2 to 4 glasses of water an hour. If you lose a lot of fluid on a hot day, sports drinks are preferred over water because they will replenish sodium.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Don’t rely upon thirst as an indicator of your need for water; it’s not reliable in very high heat.

No Oven Needed:

Avoid hot foods, and keep meals light. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss (the body has to work harder – and use more blood – to digest heavy foods).  Here’s a link to some family meals that require NO OVEN work. Check them out and enjoy.

The Final Dish:

What are your favorite foods to cool down with?