Food In The Heat

“When summer comes, it’s hot time”, we go through a period of active activity. This includes swimming in the sea, hiking in the mountains, and various sports, as well as intensive thinking, planning, contemplation, and sunbathing. All of these activities require more or less energy, and therefore food. The catch is that eating means intense biochemical reactions, which means a lot of heat is generated in the body.

And it’s hot all around! So how do you build a diet so that you don’t overheat yourself, and ensure that you have enough energy and the right range of micronutrients?

First, analyze your energy expenditure and daily routine. It is better to plan significant physical activity, not at the peak of the daytime temperature. Be sure to eat a meal beforehand that includes complex carbohydrates (digested slowly, gradually releasing energy and heat) such as whole grain cereals or bread; easily digestible protein (poultry, sea fish, cottage cheese or yogurt); a salad with green leafy vegetables and olive oil; and colorful fruits for dessert.

If you are planning a relatively inactive day, yogurt with whole grain cereal and fruit or a vegetable salad with sour cream and toast made of the same bread will suffice.

It’s hard to eat a full meal on a hot afternoon. You can replace it with a salad snack with a piece of chicken or lean fish, cold vegetable soup, or a handful of dried fruits and nuts with iced green tea.

And in the evening, when it’s cool, treat yourself to a piece of grilled meat with vegetables.

Secondly, in the heat, we lose a lot of salt with sweat, so we should replenish them with mineral water such as sodium, chloride, and bicarbonate by adding salt to our dishes. People with hypertension or kidney disease should be careful.

Thirdly, the colder the food we eat, the more warm blood comes to the digestive organs to heat it up for processing by digestive juices. Therefore, it is better to consume ice cream and ice-cold drinks when the body has cooled down a bit from the heat in the shade, which will reduce the risk of overheating.

Fourthly, the banal advice not to jump into cold water from under the scorching sun, especially after eating, makes sense. A sharp cooling of the skin will provoke a spasm of the superficial vessels, which will lead to the accumulation of a large volume of blood inside the body and cause the internal organs to heat up. To effectively remove excess body heat, you should gradually lower the temperature outside (with water, and airflow).

Fifth, drink small portions of green tea and water frequently. This will prevent dehydration and suppress your appetite.

And finally. Alcohol and heat are a life-threatening combination, as ethanol dilates blood vessels that are already of increased diameter to better transfer blood heat to the outside. This can be accompanied by a decrease in blood pressure and lead to dizziness and loss of consciousness.

It should be remembered that at high temperatures in dry climates, our body releases excess heat mainly through sweating and evaporation with frequent shallow breathing. In this situation, it is important to take care of adequate drinking and salt replenishment.

In high humidity, heat is much more difficult to tolerate because the only source of heat transfer is radiation from the body surface (warm blood flows in large quantities to the superficial vessels of the skin), and therefore it is necessary to take care of the flow of cold air or water.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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