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By Sara Tipton

With a good portion of the country experiencing heat waves and more likely to come, it’s important to know how to stay cool, especially naturally. Eating is one of the most natural things and when we adjust our diet accordingly, we can stay cool and hydrated as the temperatures rise.

While cold drinks and frozen desserts might seem cooling, they often are not. Plus, most are full of sugar to the point that they affect you adversely. Instead, there are 12 foods that almost anyone can easily add to their diet to help stay cool without having to guzzle gallons and gallons of water.

1. Cucumber

Cucumbers instantly hydrate the body and bring down the body heat. Cucumbers are made up of around 96% water and that’s the highest water content of any food! They can also be grown in almost any agriculture zone, although they may need a greenhouse. Cucumbers are also very low in calories, so they won’t fill you up making you feel “heavy” and an excellent source of vitamins and fiber. Snack on them as a salad or with your favorite dip or blitz them into a juice with ginger and some lemon.

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2. Melons

Watermelons and musk melons sell like hot cakes in summer and there’s a reason for that! Our bodies instinctively know that the juicy melons will help keep us cool. Watermelons and canteloupe both contain 90% water, which isn’t quite as much as a cucumber, but they offer a little more sweetness for those who don’t prefer cucumbers.  Juicy and full of nutrients that the body needs, all melons make for great summer companions. Not only do they hydrate well, but boost the body with power-packed nutrients like Vitamin B, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.

3. Leafy Greens

The green leafy vegetables are high in nutrient value, and calcium and provide a good cooling effect on the body. Spinach, lettuce, Amaranth, Chinese cabbage, and kale are your summer talismans. They can be had in smoothies, salads, or as a side dish in a meal. Raw kale is 84% water and it has a strong flavor for those who love their salads!

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4. Buttermilk

The Indian drink of the summers is buttermilk and while that may seem odd, there’s a reason for it. Not only does buttermilk help keep you hydrated but it also is beneficial for digestion. Have it with roasted cumin seeds, fresh coriander and some ginger to add zing to your day.

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5. Mango

The king of fruits is your best alternative to reducing body heat. There are myriad ways of incorporating it into your diet. Have it raw, as aam Panna- that quintessential summer drink, as chutney or curry. Mangoes are great for digestion, cure heat strokes and boost energy.

6. Lemon

The easiest way to add flavor to your glass of water (even sparkling water) is to have it with lemon. They boost the immune system with vitamin C, make your skin glow, and add a healthy dose of hydration! They are about 88% water, so drink up as much lemonade made with plain water and little to no sugar, or add a dash of lemon to your juices and on top of your salads

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7. Curd And Yoghurt

Packed with calcium, curd should be your go-to option for a healthy summer alternative to cold fizzy drinks. Rich with Vitamin B and gut-friendly bacteria, curd soothes the body from within. Add flavor to it by mixing it with mangoes, strawberries, and other fruits.

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8. Fish

To boost the protein content in your diet without depending on meats, turn to fish. Rich in good fatty acids, fish, makes for a tasty alternative. Since it generates less heat on consumption, you won’t feel lethargic and uncomfortably full, a feeling that usually we associate with after having chicken and meat dishes.

9. Avocado

Avocado is a superfood in the true sense. Avocadoes contain a high amount of mono-saturated fatty acids which help to remove heat and toxins from the blood. They are also easily digested, so your body will not need to create more heat to digest them.  Feeling satiated is also a key to helping stay cool. Avocadoes help you feel full for longer. In fact, a 2013 study found that overweight adults who added half a fresh avocado to their lunch were less likely to feel hungry after eating.

10. Coconut 

Coconut water is filled with electrolytes which help to keep you hydrated and cool. Rich in essential electrolytes, the power drink helps beat the heat during summer while keeping one hydrated and energetic throughout the day. It will keep you hydrated and boost your digestive capacity. This is a great alternative for those who cannot have the aforementioned dairy. The milk and meat of the coconut are both satisfying and cooling. Plus, coconut smells like a tropical oasis!

11. Mint

Mint is a cooling herb. The combination of mint and lime can make a very refreshing drink for summer. One of the easiest herbs to find fresh in the market, both peppermint and spearmint are the best for consumption during summers. Mint helps in digestion without raising body heat. It also relieves nausea and headaches and eases depression and fatigue. Making tea with mint leaves can help induce sweating to reduce body temperature.

You can take a jar of water and add crushed mint leaves to them to have throughout the day. Make sure you allow the mint leaves to soak in the water for an hour before drinking it.

Mint is also easy to grow and comes back bigger and better year after year!

12. Chamomile

This herb can cool the body, ease insomnia, calm anxiety, and soothe the digestive system. Great for the skin and scalp as well, it also soothes inflammation, rashes, insect bites, and even cuts and scrapes. The sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays can cause various skin problems. Chamomile tea is known for its antioxidant, soothing, and anti-inflammatory properties and helps treat it.

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Staying cool in the summer can be easy when we adjust our diet accordingly! Staying hydrated and cool naturally is much preferable, especially for those (like myself) who love to be outside, than staying inside a stuffy air-conditioned building all summer!

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on August 15th, 2022