It seems to be hot all over the world (Northern Hemisphere anyway!) even the UK is having a Heatwave. How do you stay cool, more importantly how do you teach your kids to stay cool. There is a big difference in eating/drinking cold things and eating/drinking things to cool you down Some of these ways may even surprise you! Anything that is going to help the body to be more efficient and effective is going to help you stay cooler.
1. I guess its no real surprise that drinking water is on the list! However drinking too much water can affect the body’s metabolism (how we heat our selves up and cool ourselves down). Drinking too much water with out the necessary vitamins and minerals to actually be able to use the water to get into our cells can actually play havoc with our body and its temperature. Flavoured waters can help to infuse the body with natural electrolytes. Also foods that contain water as well as the necessary components can help too (water melon, any melon, lychees, lemons and mango’s for instance are very cooling and re-hydrating). Use water on the back of your neck and on your pulse points (wrists, back of the knees, top of your head or feet to help cool you to as much as 3 degrees). Of course getting in water will help too, lukewarm showers, swimming (sea, lakes, pools and rivers- if safe and clean) and baths but also putting feet in water or being barefoot can help a great deal. Is all else fails fill an empty spray bottle of water and spray a fine mist on your face.
2.Foods and herbs can also be cooling. Some foods like dairy and sugar have a dampening effect (not what the body needs and actually makes the body ‘hot’). Heavy meals and foods difficult to digest should mainly be avoided in this season. It is no surprise when it is hot we crave salads and fruits and lighter meals. Foods like celery, watercress, bell peppers, cucumbers are all very cooling on the body not the digestion. Coconut water is also another must to cool down and replace minerals perhaps lost though sweating. Again replacing electrolytes and much needed water. However teas made from Chrysanthemum, Hibiscus, Calendula (marigold), peppermint and lemongrass (if you are pregnant some herbal teas are not advised) can be drunk hot or cold to have a nice effect. I enjoy flavouring my teas with foods also. (Favourite ones at the moment are mint tea with cucumber, Honeydew melon, lime and hibiscus tea, and apple and Calendula– How too and pictures coming in the week). These also have great affect on the immune system. Using Air-conditioning can dampen the immune system and going from hot to cold can shock and stress the body- try and use fans during the day and keep the air-conditioning to a minimum if possible- which also helps the environment and global warming! Especially with young children. Kefir, Kombucha, apple cider vinegar along with other sour and bitter foods have a naturally cooling effect on the body whilst stimulating immune system, the liver (known as a ‘hot’ organ) and digestive system.
3. Find the shade and breeze, again not rocket science. Sweating cools the body down so finding shade and a breeze will help the body to adjust- especially if just walking out of the aircon! Being near water (sea, rivers, lakes even swimming pools) can encourage a breeze (moving water=moving air!).Take time to rest when out and about and of course having a siesta or staying inside at the hottest point of the day is a great way to keep cool. Hats that allow air to circulate (visors and straw hats) are best as heat is lost though the head and feet
4. It is not a coincidence that the hottest countries in the world also have traditionally the hottest food in the world!. Spices encourage sweating and that is a big way to cool the body down. Also spices such as cumin and turmeric are anti-inflammatory, pepper increases circulation and digestion, chilies are great anti-oxidants. All of these foods encourage and stimulate allowing the body to enhance its metabolism and energy production. In this way foods with good fats like flax, eggs, seeds and coconut are cooling as they help the body produce energy. Foods rich in skin protecting Vitamin E, A, Selenium and Zinc also serve to protect against sun damage.
5. Wearing layers is also a great way to keep cool. Vests under t’shirts not only stop you from looking like you are sweaty but also keep the water close to your body to keep you cool. Natural fibres work best as they will soak up the sweat and will not irritate the skin underneath it. Also thinking and imagining you are cool and calm will immediately help to cool you down. Take some time to sit and breathe when hot and you will be surprise how cool as a cucumber you become!
What is your favourite way to keep cool?