August is here and the temperature is as hot as ever. When the thermometer is reading three digits, it doesn’t really matter if it is a dry heat or not, it is just plain hot! We Arizonians are much better at managing the heat than most other Americans, but there are times that even we need a little advice on how to make it through one more month of high temps and overheating.
While there are many ways to survive the heat of the hottest August days, there is one way that many people have never considered, using what you eat to beat the heat. You may immediately be picturing large scoops of ice cream, which seem like they would cool you off no matter how hot it gets. Contrary to popular belief however, eating cold foods like ice cream doesn’t actually cool you off, they can actually make you even hotter. The problem is that when you digest things like ice cream your body heats up. What you actually need is something that supports or jumpstarts your body’s own cooling mechanisms.
To help you beat the Arizona heat this August, here are 3 things you can eat that will cool you down.
1. Fuel Up with Fruit
Foods that naturally hydrate you are great for helping keep cool. Hydration is important all the time but when the temperatures are over 100 degrees for days at a time, our bodies need help replacing the water and electrolytes that are used up by our body’s natural cooling systems. One of the best ways to hydrate in the summer months is by eating fresh fruits and vegetables. These natural hydrators replace the fluid, potassium, and sodium we lose when we sweat. If we are dehydrated, we impair our body’s ability to sweat which is our primary cooling mechanism.
Great fruits that are in season here in Arizona in August include apples, grapes, melons, peaches, pears, and plums.
2. Munch on Something Minty
There is a reason that all those commercials for mint flavored gum feature icy cold themes. Mint triggers certain nerves in your mouth that send the message to the brain that you are cooler than you are.
Try one of these great mint recipes and see for yourself!
3. Eat Something Hot
Think hot like chilies not hot like soup! This is the perfect way to use some of Arizona’s favorite southwest flavors to help us make it through the hottest days. Ever noticed that you start to sweat when you eat something particularly hot and spicy? This is because of the chemical called capsaicin which is found in chili peppers that tells your body to start sweating which is how our body naturally cools itself.
Here are some great recipes using chili peppers that can help cool you off even on the hottest day.
- I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for National Ice Cream Month! (fillyourplate.org)
- It’s National Farmer’s Market Week – Let’s Go Shopping (fillyourplate.org)
- Record-breaking heat hits Arizona (azfamily.com)