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Taking care of mental and physical health during heat waves part 3: Planning diet and nutrition during a heat wave

Posted on 09-21-2015 Posted in Physical Health - 0 Comments


The last thing anyone wants to do during periods of hot weather is turn on the stove or oven and heat up the house. During hot weather it seems people naturally crave foods such as salads and meals that don’t require much cooking time.

Biochemist Shirley Corriher says that contrary to popular belief, ice cold drinks do not provide a cooling effect as the body then has to use energy to bring the liquid closer to body temperature. In some countries where summers are very hot such as India, people continue to drink hot tea which surprisingly can have a cooling effect. The hot liquid promotes sweating which is the cooling mechanism for the body and as long as humidity is not too high, works quite well. Nutritionist Sara Risch says the same is true when a person eats chili peppers or other hot spices, they begin to sweat and evaporative cooling takes place. Risch also recommends ginger and peppermint as cooling agents.

Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., recommends some dietary options that are both healthy and beneficial to the body during the summer months. Wright begins the list with corn, a source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, both responsible forming macular pigments that keeps out harmful sunrays. These same antioxidants also work to prevent macular degeneration and other eye-related disorders. Wright points out that drinks like iced coffee may decrease chances of skin cancer. According to a study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, participants who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee each day reduced the chances of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer by about 10 percent. For those who want to stay hydrated in hot weather, watermelon – a fruit that is roughly 92 percent water – is a tasty and effective solution.

If your local community has a weekly farmer’s market take a basket and browse the booths. There is usually an abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables that can protect the body while keeping it cool and hydrated. Get outside and enjoy the bounty of summer foods while they’re at their peak season.

Sovereign Health Florida emphasizes the importance of good nutrition for our clients in recovery from addictions, mental health disorders and behavioral problems. If you would like further information please call 866-269-2493 to speak with a member of our team.

Taking care of mental and physical health during heat waves part 4: Staying hydrated during hot weather

Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer

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