Summer Cool by Svetlana Kogan, M.D.

As much as we love Southwest Florida’s summers, by now we are really feeling the heat and while I am a big proponent of the very mild a/c cooling (75-77°F), sometimes you just have to chill a bit more. So, here are some useful holistic tips you can use this summer for a/c-less heat relief.

1. Get friendly with aloe vera.
Most people only reach for aloe vera when they are totally sunburnt. But research found that smoothing it on preemptively, when you are starting to just feel overheated – will yield great results. Aloe vera cream will lower skin and subdermal temperature on contact by as much as 5°F. Additionally, studies found that aloe penetrates the skin four times faster than water and reaches seven layers deep (while water reaches only the outer layer), so the cooling effect will last longer than taking a cold shower.

2. Stick with blue colors.
We generally think of white color as the most light-reflective. Thus, most summer clothing collections are predominantly white.
However, researchers have found that dying a white cotton shirt blue – boosts the garment’s UV light protection by 544% ensuring
better defense against overheating and sunburn. Plus, color studies have shown that viewing color blue causes body temperature
to instantly drop by a few degrees, so looking at yourself in the mirror will boost the cooling effects. I have also used this in my meditative visualization sessions with patients, when asking the patient to visualize their problem body area in blue color has a calming, soothing, and cooling effect on the way a person feels. This means that the cooling reaction to color blue is really imprinted in our mind’s interpretation of this color on a whole different level.

3. Spicy foods can trigger cooling.
When you eat spicy food, your face will instantly start to sweat and this will produce a cooling evaporative effect. Perhaps that is
why spicy foods are so popular in tropical climates. Conversely, reaching for something like a bowl of ice cream, which is classically
thought of as a summer treat – will cause a spike in sugar, forcing your metabolism to speed up to absorb it, and thus causing a spike in body temperature. So, make sure to add the following cooling spices to your summer recipes: fennel, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, fenugreek seeds, coriander, and ginger.

4. Keep a beautiful indoor plant collection.                                                                                                                                                     According to USDA estimates, a room full of indoor plants can lower air temperature by as much as 10°F. The reason: plants go through a process called transpiration, in which they absorb warming carbon dioxide from the air and emit cooling water vapor. Even placing just a few potted plants in sunny rooms can lower the temperature by up to 3°F. Interestingly, desert plants which are used to offset arid conditions conserve water during sunny hours and only transpire at night, so keep cacti or other desert plants in your bedroom.

5. Fool yourself cool with mint.
Scientists have long isolated a protein called TRPM8 responsible for making humans feel coldness. It turns out that menthol also triggers our inborn TRPM8 receptors, triggering a cold feeling. So, if you are feeling hot, chew a stick of peppermint gum or spray on some cologne with mint in it, or rub on some mint-scented lotion to fool your brain into sending cooling signals to your skin.

Dr. Kogan is a Concierge Holistic Internal Medicine Doctor in Naples. Her website is

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