Anyone else dreading +30 temperatures and high humidity? Sure, it’s nice to put the winter coat and boots away and enjoy some sunshine but does Canadian weather have to be so extreme?! I fear spring and fall may soon be a thing of the past. Heat and humidity can be oppressive, especially when our bodies aren’t given much chance to adjust. These conditions can cause us to feel sluggish, fatigued, grumpy, lightheaded or headachy. Here are some tips to keep your body cool and calm this summer.
Stay hydrated, the healthy way
Temperature extremes and physical exertion are hard enough on your adrenal glands. Don’t overwhelm them further with the sugar, artificial colouring and preservatives found in conventional refreshments. Try coconut water (not from concentrate), fresh juices and electrolyte powders. If you’re craving something fizzy try kombucha tea. It’s fermented which means it provides beneficial gut bacteria. Carbonated water with a little apple cider vinegar is also great for digestion and provides a little energy boost. I like it as a beer alternative as well. Remember that alcohol is dehydrating. If you do choose to indulge try less sugary drinks like gin and soda and have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink.
Of course good old H2O is a must. Give it a flavour boost with fresh mint and cucumber slices, or a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange. Remember that ice-cold water has to be warmed up by the body in order to be absorbed, requiring time and energy. It might feel more refreshing than room temperature water but it won’t quench your thirst as effectively. To stay optimally hydrated aim to drink the equivalent of ½ your body weight in ounces. So if, for example, you weight 120lbs, you should drink a minimum of 60 oz of water (7.5 cups). This number will change depending on conditions (e.g. if you are sweating or drinking diuretics like coffee).
Eat Cooling Foods
Summer is the perfect time to eat light and fresh. Load up on local fruits and veggies. Choose hydrating foods like lettuce, cucumber, celery, zucchini, apples and grapes. Try a berry bowl with Coconut Panna Cotta for breakfast. How about a big salad with hard-boiled eggs for lunch and grilled chicken with a fennel slaw for dinner? And be sure to check out this awesome healthy jello recipe using electrolyte powder.
Keeping up your usual pace can be difficult when heat and humidity hit. Schedule your activities wisely. Sunrise and sunset are the coolest times to exercise. Consider trying lower impact activities like walking, yoga, tai chi or swimming. Hot and frazzled after your evening commute? Try stretching out and doing a 5 minute meditation before you carry on with your night.
If you’re hot and bothered (and not in the good way!) try using a rosewater mist on your face and neck. It is cooling and anti-inflammatory as well. A cool cloth around the neck will also do the trick. If jumping in a lake isn’t an option try a cold shower after work. If the heat irritates your skin try adding a sachet of rolled oats to a cool bath.
Summer can be a fantastic time of year when you’re prepared for it. I for one will be re-reading this list the next time the thermometer spikes. Wishing you all cool, calm and happy season!