Outside, the temperatures are soaring. Luckily, there are ways to help fight the heat. Check out these 4 simple tips on what types of food to eat during these long, dog days of summer.
1. Astringent foods
Astringency is the term used to describe that dry, almost puckering feeling you get when you drink red wine. This quality is hardly limited to wine, however. Foods like lentils, beans and bananas also contain tannin, the molecule that gives astringent foods their “dryness.” When you consume astringent foods, the tissues of your body contract, or shrink, and increase water absorption by the body. Because it takes a lot of energy to increase the temperature of water — in this case heat energy from the sun — your body’s internal temperature stays cooler, longer. Grapes, quince and persimmons are good examples of astringent fruits.
2. Water-rich Foods
As I mentioned previously, water is great at keeping the body cool. Take advantage of this and maximize the amount of foods that contain high levels of water to minimize the intense heating effects of the sun. As is the case with astringent foods, vegetables and fruits such as cucumbers and melons will hydrate the cells in your body and translate to a lower body temperature. The colder these ingredients are when consumed, the better.
3. Green, leafy vegetables
Mom always said to eat your greens. Though I totally agree with her, I doubt she knew just how much of a favor she was really doing you. Green, leafy vegetables—like spinach, kale and broccoli—are packed with calcium, which is crucial to your body’s thermoregulatory abilities. Thermoregulation, as the name implies, in the process by which your body regulates its internal temperature. So how does this relate to calcium consumption? Basically, all those leafy greens give you the calcium your body needs to efficiently send signals between your body and your brain (and vice versa), making thermoregulation possible. Tell mom next time you see her, I promise she’ll be impressed.
4. Whole grains
Believe it or not, whole grains provide added protection against those hot, humid days of the summer months. Almost all whole grains, like barley, contain high levels of magnesium, also referred to as “nature’s tranquilizer.” Armed with the ability to relax muscle and nerve cells — not to mention increase the absorption of calcium in the bloodstream — magnesium does a knockout job at helping your body maintain a more constant body temperature. Other, less used, whole grains include rye, spelt, quinoa and buckwheat. Most can be eaten just like rice.
Looking for more ways to cool down? Food Republic’s got you covered: