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Cooling it in hot weather

By Wendell Fowler

Much to the delight of shrieking children and helpless parents, there’re here: enticing ice cream trucks blaring Pop Goes the Weasel, trolling neighborhood streets. On a hot day consuming popsicle, ice cream bars, cold beer and margheritas might seem like natural choices when you want to cool off (spoiler alert) but they may do more harm than good.

Cold food and drinks might give you a short-lived cooling effect but consuming these beverages and food leads to an increase in temperature as the process of digestion is heat-generating. This, combined with the rapid cooling initiated by cold food and drinks, means your temple over-compensates by increasing your core temperature. So, you may actually end up feeling hotter than you did to start!

We mean well, but rehydrating our temple with diuretic diet coke, coffee, diet soda, energy drinks, beer and icy cocktails is not the wisest decision as caffeine and alcohol contribute to rapid dehydration. Excess alcohol consumption can cause dehydration in a variety of ways and sugary desserts, doughnuts, ice cream, muffins, highly processed breads, pasta and grains require a lot of water to digest. Plus, you don’t get any nutrients, just unpleasant effects. Dietitians agree the temple uses a lot of water to metabolize these kinds of foods, which depletes water reserves, which can lead to dehydration.

Certain fruit and vegetables score highly in this regard, and we should consider eating more strawberries, cucumber, zucchini, celery, lettuce and watermelon if we want to up the H2O. Watermelon is the juiciest and one of the most colorful of fruits. This columnist thinks chowing a wedge of icy-cold, vitamin-packed watermelon is even more refreshing than a cold can of fizz, and with a 92 percent water content, it’s a tasty way to rehydrate, too. Drink a large glass of filtered water with electrolytes before you go to bed.

Include a dark, leafy green salad with a rainbow of colorful vegetables. Lettuce is 95 percent water, so it keeps you both cool and hydrated. Throw some extra cucumbers on top, which are 96 percent water, and you’ve created a rehydrating salad.

When water doesn’t cut it because its tasteless, make pitchers of cucumber, fresh mint, peaches and strawberry water and carry a reusable water bottle with you throughout the day. Plain and simple, hydration is needed for optimum health; what the temple requires to stay vibrantly alive. Not diet cola.


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