Ahh… summertime! With sunshine casting its light upon summer activities there can be tremendous fun to be had by all. The warm weather invites us to get outside for hiking, water sports, gardening, reading on the hammock, and so much more. The sun helps to recharge our batteries and provides plentiful health benefits like the synthesis of Vitamin D, which contributes to a healthy immune system and acts to protect muscle function and brain health. However, too much sun exposure can cause illnesses like sunburn and heat exhaustion. As with so many other ailments, there is power in what we ingest to cure what ails you. In fact, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to achieving proper hydration and the desired cooling effect. Let’s take a deeper dive!
To beat the heat, we often think of guzzling an ice-cold drink to hydrate. However, there is more to consider when it comes to maintaining temperature regulation within your body than whether your food or drink is served hot or cold. Did you know that all substances are innately designed to have a nature, or property, associated with them? Each nature influences the body and can either act to restore balance or disrupt harmony within the system. When it comes to temperature control, substances are considered cold, cool, neutral, warming, or hot in nature. Likewise, many illnesses also have a nature associated with them in terms of being considered hot or cold. When one has an illness “cold” in nature, warming substances are indicated. When an illness is based in heat, it is appropriate to ingest substances cooler in nature.
In the summertime, it is best to stay well hydrated and for most of us, choosing substances to eat and drink that are cooling nature will serve us well on a hot summer day. Most fruits, such as berries and melons, are considered cooling in nature, as are vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and asparagus. Pathology tends to be organ specific. For example, heat (or inflammation) can show up in the liver causing symptoms like irritability, pain, and premenstrual syndrome. In those cases, choose dandelion tea (served hot or cold) to soothe the liver and cool the system at the same time. Also, consider avoiding alcohol as it is hot in nature and negatively affects the liver. Another “no no” if you are trying to beat the heat is coffee. In this case, caffeine is not the culprit. Instead, it is the nature of the coffee bean. It’s hot. Really hot. Both alcohol and coffee also act as a diuretic in the body, leading to dehydration.
Paying attention to what your body needs throughout the day will also help you beat the heat this summer. If you find yourself craving something that may not be what’s best for you at the moment, ask yourself, “What does my body really want right now? Am I thirsty, hungry, or tired?” Asking ourselves this question can prevent us from making rash decisions that would likely make us feel worse and instead grant ourselves the opportunity to serve ourselves well. Being in tune with your body and knowing more about what you ingest can help you enjoy the summer and its bountiful activities with pleasure!
Ready for a drink sure to please pallet and help you cool off at the same time? This recipe is a crowd pleaser:
Cucumber and lemon infused water
In 8 cups of water, add 1/2 a sliced English cucumber and a sliced lemon. Stir. Add a few sprigs of mint and refrigerate for at least two hours. Enjoy!