Wondering what to eat in the heat? While ice cream would be the obvious and preferable choice for many, it’s not really wise to have it for every meal of the day. I’ve tried.
Instead, food experts have offered the more sensible options that will keep you cool through the summer, including spinach, chilli and soup.
Chilli? And soup? Not exactly what most people think of when dining in the hot summer days. However, there is logic behind eating these foods.
According to nutritionist Daniel O’Shaughnessy, despite traditionally being considered a winter dish, having a bowl of soup in the evening as temperatures start to drop can actually help you stay cool.
It will make you perspire more, but as the sweat evaporates, the energy is absorbed into the air, therefore cooling the body.
He also believes a spicy chilli is an excellent choice in hot weather explaining that the capsaicin found in the food sends a signal to your brain that your body is overheated.
As a result, you will sweat more to cool your body down.
A more refreshing option, though, is watermelon, which hydrates and cools the body. Foods rich in turmeric, as well as reducing carbohydrates and protein in your diet are also good ways to beat the heat.
The powerful anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric make a takeaway tikka masala a good option in hot weather.
Curcumin, which is the active ingredient in the spice, helps promote good circulation, helping to speed up your blood flow and cool your body down.
Graham Corfield of Just Eat, said:
With the forecast showing no signs of cooling down, we’re all trying different ways to combat the heat – from having a cool shower as soon as you walk through the door, to avoiding standing in a hot kitchen.
What people may not realise is that some of your favourite dishes might just help make these temperatures more bearable.
O’Shaughnessy also named onions, found in the likes of burritos and curries, as a top pick, with the vegetable being used in Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional form of Indian medicine which is more than 3,000 years old, to treat heat stroke.
Other hot weather choices recommended by O’Shaughnessy include mint, thanks to its cooling sensation, as well as spinach, which contains the vitamins and minerals needed to help keep your blood pressure under control, in turn keeping you cool.
He also added that coconut milk, found in dishes like a Thai Green curry, holds important nutrients to support hydration, prevent exhaustion and muscle aches in hot weather.
But there are some foods to avoid, with O’Shaughnessy advising Brits to cut down on carbohydrate-rich foods, such as rice and wholegrains, and foods high in protein like meat.
It may be harder to digest a high protein food in a heat wave.
Meat is quite hard to digest and the digestion process creates heat (thermogenesis) and can make you feel hotter in yourself.
Opting for plant-based dishes can be a good choice as less energy is needed to break vegetarian dishes down compared to meat.
Looks like that barbecue might not be the best idea for the hot summer weekends.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.