The summer weather is great. People enjoy the warmth, but they also want to keep cool and breathe easy. How do you beat the heat? I might take a dip in my pool, or I may enjoy a tasty green juice. There are many healthy foods people love to consume during the summer months. Ice cream and popsicles are popular favorites, but there are better, healthy alternatives.
Fruits such as honeydew, peaches, cantaloupe and watermelon do the trick, along with vegetables, including cucumber, asparagus, spinach and radishes. There are even some foods that may surprise you. Here are three you should incorporate into your summertime meals.
Peppermint is perfect for salads or teas, and is known for its cooling effect on the body. It also helps the body relax, which is helpful when too much heat decreases your energy. It has a cooling effect inside the body as well. Peppermint can help stimulate the digestive system and removes toxins from the body. The herb calms inflammation, indigestion and heartburn.
Peppermint leaves are also a good source of vitamin C, copper and manganese. It’s popular in summer gardens, which makes for a perfect tea to beat the heat. Here’s how: Dry out your peppermint leaves. Pour a cup of boiling water onto the peppermint. Let steep for approximately 10 minutes. Strain, remove the leaves and drink warm. You can also add your desired sweetener such as honey.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper may produce initial heat; however, it actually has a wonderful, cooling effect on the body. According to a 2010 study published in Physiology & Behavior Journal, red pepper (cayenne) decreases skin temperature. Researchers observed 25 lean women and men between the ages of 19 to 28. The treatments would include one of six random treatments with variations of red pepper dosages, including tomato soup with one gram of red pepper, while other participants would add their preferred amount of red pepper. Four and a half hours later, the researchers would determine the skin or core temperature, energy expenditure and appetite ratings.
Cayenne pepper is great as a seasoning for your chicken, salmon or other fish. Cayenne will also help with digestion and promote circulation to the heart as well.
Most raw fruits and vegetables are known to have a cooling effect on the body. Raspberries are an anti-pyretic, which means they can cool the body, especially from fevers. These berries also deliver potent antioxidant activity as well. The phytonutrient ellagic acid is responsible for the berry’s antioxidant properties which can help neutralize free radicals in the body. Raspberries also are considered antimicrobial, helping to prevent fungi and bacteria overgrowth.
When you find raspberries in the wild, the leaves can be used an anti-inflammatory and can help soothe a sore throat. The leaves are used for infusions or tinctures for an effective herbal remedy.
One additional note on keeping cool: Stay hydrated! Many people don’t drink enough water, plain and simple. It is good practice to consume eight to 10, 8-ounce glasses of filtered water on a daily basis to avoid dehydration.
It is not enough to just drink liquids, especially if you’re relying on alcoholic beverages to keep you cool. Beverages like beer and coolers, among other alcoholic drinks, can lead to dehydration. Need to make your H20 more appealing? Add slices of citrus or cucumbers for a pleasant, refreshing flavor.
Ludy, M.J., et al., “The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite,” Physiology & Behavior Journal, Nov. 18, 2010; doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.11.018.
Hoffman, D., Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies (Hammersmith: HarperCollins Publishers Limited, 1983), 222, 227.