Watermelon: The key for staying cool with watermelon is found in the first part of its name—water. Its high water content helps to keep you hydrated. No wonder you see watermelon at so many summer meals.
Mint: No doubt about it—it’s minty fresh—but mint can also help you to feel cool through its menthol, one of mint’s main components. Mint also has some calming properties, which can make you “chill out.” Likewise, mint has a bit of a spicy kick to it so that it can encourage sweating to cool you off.
Coconuts and coconut water: The lauric acid in coconuts is a type of fat that’s easily absorbed and turned into energy almost instantaneously—important during hot days when you feel that your energy is sapped. Likewise, coconut water is terrific for staying hydrated and keeping water and mineral levels balanced in the body. Coconut water is also packed with potassium, which can help you stay hydrated and can ward off heat stroke.
Citrus fruits: You may feel exceptionally “cool” when you enjoy citrus fruits, including oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, which are among some of the most cooling of all citrus fruits. An added bonus of these cooling citrus fruits is that they’re packed with phytonutrients that act as antioxidants, including vitamin C, anthocyanins and polyphenols. What’s more is that citrus fruits also assist with digestion, helping with digesting rich and fatty foods.
Cucumbers: Want to stay “cool as a cucumber”? Then eat cucumbers! They have high water content, so they can help you stay hydrated. They’re also full of important vitamins such as vitamin A, C, K, B6, folate and thiamine. Likewise, they contain calcium, iron, manganese, selenium, zinc and potassium. And calories? Minimal. So, enjoy them guilt free!
Peaches: Next up is one “peachy” way to stay cool—peaches! Known as the “cooling fruit” in China, peaches can help cool the body’s core temperature. They’re also high in fiber and vitamins, while containing calcium and iron as well—two important minerals which are rarely found in fruits.
Greens: Greens such as spinach, arugula, collard greens and others are perfect for summer eating and keeping you cool. They’re great as the basis for salads, or adding a handful of them to smoothies for an extra boost!
Chilies: This one’s a hot way to cool down—chilies. It seems counterintuitive, but chilies can actually help you cool off. Chilies increase circulation and can make you sweat, which is nature’s way of regulating your body temp to cool you off. An added bonus is that chilies contain capsaicin that releases endorphins to the brain, making you feel content.
Garlic: Believe it or not, garlic also can decrease your body heat by increasing blood circulation, which boosts the body’s ability to sweat—how nature cools you down.
Cilantro: Used in many dishes worldwide, cilantro is an excellent way to cool the body’s core temperature. It’s also high in iron and magnesium, while supporting healthy digestion, healthy inflammation levels and more. Add cilantro to salads, salsas and whatever else strikes your fancy.
Those are just a few of the light and cool foods you can enjoy during the dog days of summer.
So, savor them—and stay cool!