Cool foods to eat this summer

Cool foods to eat this summer

The past couple of weeks, say forecasters, could herald a blistering summer, but high temperatures do have their drawbacks.

Excessive heat, for instance, can seriously upset the body, causing irritability, sleep problems, exhaustion and lack of concentration, among other things.

But food and drink have a big part to play in helping your body keep cool and healthy during the heat. Here’s what to stock in your fridge to survive the sizzling temperatures …

Fruit with yoghurt: is an ideal combination for breakfast in really hot weather. Fruit, which has a high water content, will help maintain your body fluid, which will be lost more rapidly through sweat, the body’s mechanism for cooling down in the heat.

Bio yoghurts can promote friendly gut bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. This protects against food poisoning, cases of which dramatically increase during hot temperatures when it is difficult to keep food fresh.

Vegetables: “It is vital to maintain your body’s water levels in the heat, not just by drinking fluids, but also choosing foods that contain a lot of water,” says Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St George’s Hospital, Tooting.

“Vegetables are obvious choices as they contain lots of fluid. Avoid boiling or steaming them for too long, as this depletes them of their water and nutrient content.”

A baked potato or pasta salad: carbohydrate-rich foods can help to combat heat exhaustion. Dr Wendy Doyle, from the British Dietetic Association, recommends eating regular small, starchy carbohydrate snacks during the day, such as pitta bread, to keep your body’s blood-sugar and energy levels even.

Other ideal carbohydrate foods include baked beans, rice, fruit, yoghurt and milk. And she advises us to eat spicy foods: “Although this may be the last thing you fancy in hot weather, curries and chillies can stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, enhance circulation and cause sweating, which cools the body down.”

Tzatziki: the Greek dip combines yoghurt and cucumber, which has a water content of about 96.4 per cent.

Watercress: a rich source of minerals, including iron, which some nutritionists believe can be depleted through perspiration. A lack of iron can cause us to feel tired and lethargic. Other foods which contain this mineral include lean meat, fruit and green vegetables.

Mint: although mint does not cool the whole body down it is cooling on the tongue and therefore tastes refreshing in hot weather.

Onions: especially red ones contain

a chemical called quercetin which is believed to have an anti-histamine effect. Histamine is the irritant that causes heat rashes and adverse reactions to insect bites and stings, so eating onions daily may help to ease these summer complaints.

Marinated meats on barbecues: marinades reduce the levels of cancer-risk chemicals being produced when meats are charcoaled black. Ms Collins explains: “Scientists aren’t sure why this is, but they believe it could be because the ingredients in most common marinades are high in cancerfighting antioxidants.î These include vinegar, citrus juices, herbs, spices and olive oil.

Bananas: a rich source of potassium, which helps to regulate body fluid lost through excessive sweating. Other potassium-rich foods are green vegetables, baked beans, dried fruit and cereal.

Melons: Dr Doyle says that fruit is important in hot weather to bump up your fluid intake, and melons contain more than 90 per cent water.
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