Cooling Foods

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The hot season is here, even if the weather can bring new surprises. But in Europe and the US, the heat has definitely been with us! Personally I love this season, when you need very little, or less, and can spend most of your time outdoors. But it could prove extremely useful to know how to help our bodies cope with excess heat. For example, what foods to eat to feel great despite intense heat outside.

Here are a few tips to enjoy the hot season.

1. Keep hydrated, all the time!

Everyone knows this: our bodies need permanent hydration, even more so in hot weather. Our internal thermostat struggles to maintain the body temperature stable and this hard work is made even harder when we lose a lot of hydration through perspiration in the heat. In other words, the more liquids you release, the more energy you need to expend to combat heat. So you must drink a lot!

Choosing the right foods is also key, and hydrating foods are… fruits and vegetables, of course! Eating highly raw, and seasonal, is once again the best strategy. Think of melons, watermelons, cucumbers, tomatoes, red/yellow/orange peppers, celery, green leafy vegetables and all types of salads. But also fresh juicy fruit such as apricots, peaches and seasonal berries. Eating mostly those foods will allow your body to replenish its water reserves and you will feel more comfortable in the heat. These foods are not only hydrating, they also help restore the electrolytes which in turn help our bodies’ ability for thermo-regulation.

2. Avoid dehydrating substances!

This may also seem quite obvious, but many people are not aware of the dehydrating effects of certain substances. Consuming them contributes to increasing the discomfort caused by heat. These are mostly coffee and all caffeine containing beverages or foods, and all alcoholic beverages. Best to avoid them or consume them in great moderation, along with large glasses of water to downplay the negative effects.

Diuretic foods are also dehydrating as they stimulate the bladder and lead to more water loss. These are asparagus, fennel and artichokes, for example. Don’t avoid these by all means, as they are very healing foods, great for detoxing and getting rid of waste. However when it is very hot you would do well to drink loads of water when consuming these foods.

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3. Eat frozen fruit!

You might think that frozen foods are great to refresh in the heat. But all frozen foods are not created equal. You need to look at their fat and protein content. A classic ice cream, for example, can be full of sugar and fats, and although refreshing it will be more of a challenge to digest than plain frozen fruit! Difficult digestion requires more energy while increasing the metabolic activity which results in… increased body temperature! Not what you want to achieve.

The best tip here is to turn your favorite fruit into frozen delights. For example, frozen grapes are quite the trend (better to use seedless varieties), as are frozen berries, which are all delightful treats for the palate, and oh so refreshing! Think also of pieces of banana, melon, watermelon, pitted cherries, pieces of apricots, etc. Try your favorite fruit and find out how it tastes when frozen! You can use these for breakfast, lunch or snacks, any time of the day, as they are or as ice cubes in your favorite juices and smoothies.

4. Un-cook and go raw!

Summer and heat offer the best conditions for eating raw. Many come to this naturally as they follow their own body’s needs. No need to cook when it is H.O.T.! There are many raw dishes that people are naturally drawn to in this season: salads of all sorts, veggie sticks with dips, gazpacho type cold soups, or even carpaccio or ceviche type dishes for protein meals. All these dishes are refreshing and easier to digest than any cooked fare. You will thus be saving much needed body energy to struggle against the heat!

All these tips will help you surf the wave, sleep better, keep yourself in top shape and shade and enjoy your summer activities. They will also help you save on expensive energy such as ventilators and air conditioning, which also push our bodies into constant thermo-regulation mode and increase the risk of infection.

I wish you a happy, fresh and relaxing summer!

BRING MORE RAW INTO YOUR LIFE, ONE DISH AT A TIME!

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