Foods to keep us cool in the sweltering Costa del Sol summer
AS this Yank tries hopelessly to convert from Fahrenheit to Centigrade, with incoherent babblings that confound his British co workers, certain phrases transcend transatlantic cultural differences.
“It’s bloody hot” will do it nicely.
Temperatures topped 35C in some places along the Costa del Sol this week and, seeing as it’s only early July, things are likely to get hotter before they get cooler.
So if you don’t want to rack up a huge Endesa bill with the aircon at full blast, I’ve been researching summer foods that are supposed to have the same effect and cool you down in the insufferable heat.
The key is efficiency. Give your body more of what it needs and less of what it doesn’t to avoid inefficiencies and excess heat.
‘Inefficiencies’, it seems, are a euphemism for junk and comfort foods – all the stuff we like. Unfortunately our bodies don’t really need ice cream and frozen daiquiris and run better on healthier options.
Not the end of the world, though, as the ingredients on this list will help us all trim up while we cool down – a great incentive to kick bad habits.
Hit the H2O
It almost goes without saying but water should be your top tipple this summer.
The importance of hydration cannot be overstated, plus H2O is calorie free and costs nothing from the tap. (If you don’t like the fact that fish make love in it, have fun tracking down your favourite designer brand.)
You lose a lot of water sweating, and it’s vital you get it back, as your body needs it to run properly. You also want to replenish your sweat so you can continue to sweat – the body’s natural response to heat.
Water cleans your body of toxins which keep you hot. Bring it with you wherever you go, but try to drink it at room temperature.
Though iced water may offer immediate relief, the body will just end up using energy to heat it back up.
Succulent fruits refresh the palate and can help you cool off.
Water-rich watermelon hydrates you while you eat it, making a critical difference to your core body temperature.
Peaches and apricots also contain a great ratio of water to keep you hydrated, as well as several important vitamins and minerals that help your body function smoothly without generating a lot of unnecessary heat.
Eat up your greens
Cucumbers and leafy greens are fibre-rich, helping to regulate your digestive system. Waste is bad (yes, that kind of waste), and these vegetables help get rid of it.
Cucumbers also hold on to a lot of water, which brings us right back to hydration.
Pickles are not cucumbers. Avoid salty foods in general, as they dehydrate.
Chewing on mint leaves refreshes the palate and creates a cooling sensation without messing around with your core temperature. Go for mint tea if you like but finish it off with a water chaser as tea, like coffee, has a dehydrating effect.
Citrus fruits, like limes, have also been known to keep the body cool. Unfortunately, that mojito won’t help you out at all. I know, it seemed like the perfect solution but alcohol heats the body up and too much spells dehydration doom, a.k.a. A hangover.
Spice it up
Could a vindaloo do it for you? The jury’s still out.
One camp believes that spices do what they say on the tin, and just heat you up, making you feel worse on a hot summer day. The other camp takes a novel, albeit counterintuitive approach.
Because of their heat inducing qualities, spicy foods urge the body to sweat more than you naturally would, and sweat cools you down. Since spicy foods cause heat only superficially, and not in the body’s core, they don’t have a negative impact.
Just be sure to drink plenty of water to replenish the sweat.
Fish has fewer calories than meat, which means less excess energy, which means you can stay cool more easily. It’s lighter on the tum, and tends not to induce that postprandial, sloth-like feeling.
Fish is also an excellent source of good fats, like Omega-3 fatty acid, that can help your body run on cool. Eat it grilled or blackened, as frying fish eliminates some of its health and cooling benefits. Namely, it adds the excess calories right back.
The Spanish meteorological agency (AEMET) has already released weather warnings due to the intense June heat, which ushered in new record highs for many parts of Spain.
In total, the agency issued yellow warnings in seven provinces , which caution citizens to give all outdoor activities due consideration.
Despite some occasional and much-celebrated dips into more temperate weather, due to favorable winds from the UK, this summer promises to be absolutely blistering.
Stay cool, hang loose!