It is just passed July 4th and we are in the midst of our second heatwave of the summer, with sustained temperatures in the 90’s. I hope this is not a preview of the next couple months. There are different ways to adjust to the summer heat. We can wear shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops; spend time in air conditioning, in the pool, by the beach, or sip iced drinks all day. For most of us who are stuck in the city and having to work, only a few of these options work and we will have to wait for the pool or beach.
There is another option of changing our diets to help us to adjust to the heat more naturally. We can increase the consumption of foods and beverages that have a mildly cooling or a heat dispersing effect on our body. We can also limit the foods that hold or generate heat.
The following are some of the foods that hold and generate heat: all meat, poultry, eggs, hard cheese and heavy baked foods such as pizza. Anything cooked with animal fat also generates heat. It is best to minimize these foods at all times because they spoil our health as well as make us feel hotter.
These are the foods that you want to increase in your diet:
Less short grained and more medium or long grained rice. Less whole and more cracked grains including bulgur, couscous, polenta, etc. More pasta and less bread. Use pita, chapatti or soft tortilla instead of bread or rolls.
More beans. They are always important in hot climates.
More light vegetable dishes including steamed, blanched and raw salads. The more juicy the salad vegetable, the more cooling. For that reason I am a great fan of iceberg lettuce to keep cool, even thought it is not high in nutrients. An iceberg and cucumber salad is a summer favorite of mine. I can practically live on it when it is this hot.
Use olive oil for sautéed vegetables often, and vegetable tempura is also good for dispersing heat. Oil that is lightly cooked help us disperse heat.
Add a little bit of hot spice to your dishes. Hot spices also help us to disperse body heat.
Raw tofu with a little grated ginger and soy sauce, or some guacamole.
Drink mildly hot or mildly cool beverages over iced drinks. They have a better cooling effect in the long run. Iced drinks cool us temporarily but have a harmful effect on our sinuses, kidneys, pancreas and other digestive organs.
Finally, don’t forget the corn on the cob and watermelon. Check out my wife Susan’s recipe for an incredible marinade for roasted corn on the cob. What could be better on a hot summer day!