Paula Allia asks How is Your Body Handling This Heat?

As you have noticed, the hot weather is here and the humidity is present every morning when you go out. Typically, this weather will continue or get warmer through the next few months. Some mornings, you feel like you could cut the air with a knife.

For your health, you need to be aware of the temperature in your environment. Heat and humidity can wreak havoc on your body. Therefore, it is pertinent that you hydrate yourself appropriately for the activities of your day. Eating foods that cool the body is a good place to start. What are cooling foods? Everything ingested causes either a heating, neutral or cooling effect on the body. It is no wonder what is harvested in the different seasons usually is good to be ingested at that time. There is one constant that is always good for us, water.

All of our cells have water in them and in warm weather you may increase sweating and lose a lot of water. This can actually make your BUN blood test rise and affect your electrolytes in your body which
all work hard to keep our body engine running efficiently. Water is used in your body for many chemical reactions to take place. If you do not drink enough water, your body may hoard what you do intake because it needs it.

When people are in a heat stress condition, the body may even sweat profusely to help cool the body. Once in heat stroke, the body may not sweat and thus the body overheats. Stay well hydrated with fluids and you can drink up to half of your body weight in ounces. Do not consume drinks that have a
lot of sugar or sugar alcohol in them, especially if you will be out in very warm climates. If you are a big sweater, you may need to ingest more water. Fatigue may be a sign of dehydration.

Summertime needs to include cooling foods or neutral foods more that the heating type of foods. This will help aid your body to not overheat in the warmest months of the year. As far as foods go, most salad foods are cooling. Lettuce, celery, cucumbers, spinach, zucchini, and most leafy vegetables (but not all) cool the body, especially if these foods are eaten raw. Lightly steamed is better that fully steamed or fried for any foods. Watermelon is an excellent cooling food. It is loaded with antioxidants as well so it can help to battle toxins that you come in contact with every day.

Other cooling foods are: bananas, grapefruit, persimmons, seaweed, star fruit, barley, bean curd,
pears, peppermint, radishes, strawberries, tangerines, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, pineapple and
turmeric. Neutral foods are a balance and do not tend to overheat or cool your body: olives, oysters, papaya, potato, pork, fig, kidney beans, pumpkin, red beans, plums, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, Brussels sprouts, snow peas, dates, raspberries, raisins, sage, rosemary, thyme, brown rice and apples.

Eating too many heating foods at once can cause fatigue in the summer months. These are: pepper,
cinnamon, ginger, soybean oil, chicken, apricot, cloves, coconut, mustard, nutmeg, spearmint, basil,
mangoes, peaches, mandarin oranges, grapes, garlic and guava. Most nuts have a heating effect on the
body. Also all meats have heating properties. Most fats and proteins are more heating and they increase
metabolism. Coffee and chocolates are considered to be diuretics so they will increase urination that can lead to further dehydration.

Overall, be smart over the summer depending upon the climate that you are in. If you leave Naples and
go to a cooler climate, you can get away with less cooling foods. Your food choices should be based on
the activities that you are doing and the climate that you are in. Wherever you are, drinking enough water is pertinent to your health. If you are someone who retains fluids, contact your doctor for advice. People can ingest too many fluids but if you are healthy and rational it is not likely.

by Paula Allia
PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

Enjoy! Maximize your energy by making good food choices. Stay Cool! For further information please call Paula Allia, PT, DHSc, at the downtown Fitness Together (239) 263-9348.

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