Published : 06/01/2018
As we are all embracing and celebrating summer season, indulging in pool life and after-work barbecues, it is well worth being mindful about what we eat in order to enable our body to cope with the increased temperatures. Fatty and heavy foods are particularly difficult to digest and put an extra burden on our body’s metabolism that is already working hard to keep us cool. Food-wise we should thus look southwards, where the Mediterranean diet has proven itself to be the most well adapted and suitable diet in a warmer climate due to its easy digestibility. It primarily consists of fish, fruit, vegetables and olive oil. These ingredients supply us with a wealth of important vitamins and minerals as well as high-quality protein and healthy fats.
When exposed to higher temperatures, our body is primarily busy with regulating our body temperature. Heavy foods such as the typical fat- and carbohydrate rich foods require further energy expenditures in order to be digested. Therefore, to reduce our body’s “workload” and relieve our metabolism, we should not only consume lighter foods, but also smaller portions. A particularly well-digestible snack for a midday heat are fruit and vegetables, because they not only provide lots of vitamins and minerals, but moreover water. Especially melons, tomatoes and cucumbers are excellent foods to top up our body’ water balance.
While the size of your food portions in summer should shrink (normally we do have a naturally reduced appetite when it’s warm), the amount of water on the other hand should increase. Because you lose more body water via sweating, your body has an increased demand for water. Also, it is recommendable to start drinking before you are actually thirsty, since this is already a sign of deficiency. Generally, you cannot drink too much water, since your body simply releases what it doesn’t need, but you should drink around 3litres a day.
When it comes to your drink choice, skip the unhealthy sugary drinks such as soft drinks, juices or even beer. The same holds for caffeine. All of these fire up your body’s metabolism, burning unnecessary amounts of energy. Water has always been and still is your best choice. In case you crave for more taste you could go for unsweetened tea. Interestingly enough, certain herbs such as mint, have a cooling effect. Sage tea for example causes your sweat pores to close, which makes you sweat less. Food-wise there is a lot you can do to prepare your skin for hotter temperatures. Particularly foods rich in carotenoids, such as present in carrots, play an important role because they contain valuable antioxidant secondary metabolites. They protect our body against dangerous oxidative stress by inhibiting free radicals, which we absorb for instance via sun exposure.