The summer is at its peak and it’s hot out there! This time of year you might be tempted to reach for some cooling and refreshing treats. Summer often inspires cravings for foods like ice cream, rootbeer floats, and foods associated with summertime childhood memories. While these foods offer temporary cooling for your body and a blast of nostalgia, they can actually inhibit your body's natural cooling mechanisms and leave you dehydrated and fatigued. Instead, let’s consider some foods that support your body’s natural cooling system while also giving your body a blast of hydration. Also, if you're ready to give your body a nutritional blast for summer be sure to check out my upcoming 30 Day Nourishment Challenge!
To get you started, here are some great cooling and nourishing foods for summer.
Watermelon is one of my summertime favorites! A watermelon contains roughly 80-90% water making it a great thirst quencher. It also has a light taste of sweet sugar syrup that can be much more tasty than plain water. Juicy and delicious watermelons are a rich source of essential vitamins like vitamin A, B and C and antioxidants. Eating a cool wedge of watermelon is one of the best ways to enjoy the crunchy cooling fruit. Another great way is to make a watermelon drink: simply blend sizeable watermelon cubes with fresh lime juice and add in a few ice cubes.
It’s time to be cool as a cucumber! This wonderful water-filled vegetable is not only a great way to beat the heat but it’s also low calorie, easy to digest and high in nutrition. When eaten with its peel, it is a good source of dietary fiber that helps prevent constipation and that, in the long run, prevents extra buildup of heat in the body. Be sure to add cucumbers and other leafy vegetables with high water content to your summer diet. Fresh salads are a great way to go!
Tired of drinking plain old water and need a dose of electrolytes? Coconut water is your solution! Coconut water is basically the translucent juice found inside a coconut. The sweet water is packed with sugars, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that make up this most refreshing natural drink. It replenishes and hydrates the body. Adding some lime or mint leaves can add a fun twist, too!
As I child I recall selling homemade lemonade for $.25 cents a cup at my local park. I still see kids in my local park selling lemonade. I love this tradition! Sipping a chilled glass of lemonade on a hot summer day is bliss. It has high water content and lemons are rich in Vitamin C. Be sure to avoid highly sweetened varieties and whenever possible, go for a lemonade that is naturally sweetened with agave, honey or stevia.
Apples, lime, oranges, grape fruit, peaches, pears among others have high water content and are rich in Vitamin C. Citrus fruits also aid in digestion and help in the breakdown of fatty foods, allowing your body to focus less energy on digestion and more on playing outside!
The idea of spicy foods in the summer may not be appealing, but spicy foods actually cool the body by increasing circulation of blood and by helping us break a sweat. This releases the excessive heat from our bodies. Adding spices like hot chili pepper, capsicum or ginger helps to rapidly raise your body temperature then lower it, which lowers your internal body temperature. Might be time for a Mexican night!
Though it may be tempting to reach for iced coffee, this will leave your body dehydrated. Instead, why not try iced green tea that is full of antioxidants and had anti-aging properties? Some studies even show that sunburns can be healed by drinking green tea.