Proper nutrition can go a long way in ensuring that you are well-prepared to cope with the increased temperatures and deal with the challenges posed to your body and mind by extreme heat.
Although it is a definite truth that your body does not require as many calories in hot weather as it does in cold weather, there are still certain nutritional requirements that need to be met to ensure that your body is at its optimum level of functioning.
There are a few basic principles that you can follow to achieve optimal nutrition during hot weather.
- The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid heavy foods during the heatwave.
- More than quantity, the types of food you eat can affect the way your body regulates its temperature. This makes it vital to include more water-rich foods in your diet during periods of intense heat, such as cucumbers, leafy greens, berries, watermelon, etc.
- It is also recommended to reduce meat-based dishes and starchy foods such as rice and bread. You can also add to this list foods that are highly processed and/or contain sweeteners. These foods can be quite difficult for the body to digest and can lead to the production of excess heat.
- Keeping your portion sizes small and eating your calories in several small meals is an excellent strategy.
- In addition, it is also vital to drink plenty of fluids, such as water or sugar-free drinks.
- Liquid dishes, such as cold soups, are ideal for summer. Not only do they help you stay hydrated, but they're also quite easy to eat when it's hot.
Foods you should eat more of
Not only is spinach rich in water (about 92%), but it is also full of minerals and nutrients, which makes it a miracle food for warmer months. In addition, it also helps to keep your blood pressure regulated. Also, leafy vegetables such as cabbage, and lettuce are an equally good choice.
Turmeric has been proven to have excellent anti-inflammatory benefits and is also great for blood circulation. It is rich in a compound called curcumin, which has numerous health benefits.
- Chili peppers
This might sound contradictory at first, especially if you're not a fan of spicy foods, but chili peppers can be excellent at keeping your body cool when it's hot. Hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which activates the brain by sending signals that your body is overheated and needs to cool down. While raising your temperature momentarily, the ensuing sweating provokes a cooling reaction, which is great for your body during hot weather.
It's very rich in water, which makes it excellent for the replenishment of liquids lost due to the sun. It contains several vital nutrients like citrulline that help you feel relaxed and dilate your arteries, making it possible to maintain your blood pressure under control.
Mint has a wide range of health benefits that make it a great dietary add-on for summer. In addition, it relaxes the body and can do wonders for your digestion. As previously mentioned, your ability to digest is affected during a heatwave, making mint something you may want to include in your meals or drinks.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and others are great sources of antioxidants and vitamins.
During the heatwave, your body loses a lot of water. Constant replenishing of the fluids you lose is necessary to maintain both your energy levels and your health during a heatwave.
- Do not base your hydration solely on the feeling of thirst during a heatwave. Reminding yourself to hydrate regularly is very important.
- Drink 2.5-3 liters of water per day.
Which liquids to consume
Apart from water, healthy alternatives include green tea, etc. It is important that you try and avoid pre-packaged drinks and other sugary beverages as they are bound to dehydrate you. Fruit juices can be a decent alternative, though in moderation, as they're high in natural sugars. Consuming a lot of sugar, including the natural sugars found in fruits, is not good for your health, especially during periods of intense heat.
Furthermore, although moderate consumption of tea and coffee is considered acceptable, many argue that caffeine, in high doses, can have a diuretic effect, which can lead to dehydration. The same goes for alcohol which should be avoided.