Foods To Avoid In Heat Waves

Jul 21, 2011 7:31 am

Heat waves: The key to good offense is good defense

chili peppers
Photo: delphaber on Flickr
Go ahead, fan the flames. Don't say we didn't warn you.
 

When dealing with the exhausting heat and humidity of any heat wave, it’s important that you use every available defense to stay as cool as possible. We’ve already armed you with tips on what types of food you should eat when the temperatures outside go sky high, but what about some foods you should avoid? Check out these tips on what not to eat (or drink) during a heat wave.

Spicy Foods

We all love the kick of capsaicin—the compound present in spicy foods that causes the burn, but it’s something worth avoiding when the heat outside is already too much to handle. Some studies have proven that capsaicin consumption is correlated with a short-lived increase in body temperature and although it’s only temporary, when it’s 100+ degrees in the sun, every little bit counts. We love you, habañero sauce but this is neither the time, nor the place.

"Diuretic" Foods

Water is your best friend when the temperature rises, so your goal should be to consume and maintain as much water as possible. One way to prevent losing much-needed water weight is to avoid diuretic foods — foods that increase your body’s water excretion. This includes coffee, tea, soda and other caffeinated beverages. The limit doesn’t stop at drinks, however, since there are some foods that will have the same effect on the body and leave you feeling parched. Limit your intake of foods like mangoes, fennel, artichokes and asparagus to prevent dehydration.

High-Protein Foods

Juicy steaks and burgers, fresh off the grill, are perfect for those summer barbecues, except when it’s too damn hot to fire up the coals. On days like these when it’s hot enough to grill on the sidewalk, it’s best to reduce your protein consumption. Not eliminate it all together, but cut back, and here’s why: Protein is really hard to digest. It takes a lot of different molecules and enzymes to transform a piece of meat into something the body can use. When your body performs this process, it creates heat — a process known as thermogenesis. Other foods, such as carbohydrates in the form of fruit or bread, are more easily digested, use much less energy and produce a lot less heat by thermogenesis. In fact, it can take anywhere from 50 to 100% more energy to break down protein compared to carbohydrates. The moral of the story: Take it easy on the meat.


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