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What To Eat And Drink During A Heatwave

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With temperatures expected to hit an all-time high in the UK this week, a heatwave is well and truly upon us. While strong summer sun and bright blue skies will be welcomed by many, it is important that we look after ourselves. Ensuring our bodies are able to function as they normally would will help to avoid overheating and fatigue, allowing us to make the most of the sun.

Suggestions to stay safe during this summer’s heatwave have included working from home where possible, minimising travel, and staying in the shade. There’s also nifty ‘tricks’ we’ve all tried that might provide temporary relief: sticking a pair of socks in the fridge before bed, or placing a bowl of ice water in front of a fan.

Of course, another key suggestion is to remain hydrated – keeping up with water intake is detrimental. Warmer weather means we sweat more to cool down, losing water in the process. It’s recommended we drink around eight glasses of water a day, an amount which is especially important when dealing with higher temperatures. However, there’s no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to staying hydrated, with different ages, genders, and levels of activity having different needs.

 

 

While suggestions such as working from home to stay cool may be out of our control depending on different methods of working, there is one thing we can alter – what we eat and drink. 

 

Tips on what to eat in the heat

It may come as a surprise, but food accounts for around 20-30% of our fluid intake. There are some foods that contain more water than others, making them an ideal choice for topping up hydration levels. Fruits and vegetables in particular meet this criteria, especially:

– Cucumber
– Courgettes
– Celery
– Strawberries
– Melon
– Lettuce

Fluid-rich meals are also a smart way of increasing hydration. Porridge, soups, and stews can be created quickly, consumed in smaller portions, and made summery with seasonal ingredients. For snacks, yoghurts and nuts can help to provide the nutrition and hydration needed.

 

 

Are there any foods to avoid?

There’s no rules to eating and drinking in the heat, but having an idea on what foods are beneficial – as well as those that are not so much – can only serve to help. 

There are foods that require more effort and energy to digest, which may ultimately generate more body heat. These foods tend to be high in protein, sugar, and fibre, foods for which many might prioritise in their diet. One way of mitigating a warming effect while consuming these foods is to use a citrus-rich marinade. This will break down the protein structure. Similarly, soaking grains in water can make the fibre in them more digestible. 

Cold food and drinks may provide momentary respite from the heat, but can eventually lead to an increase in body temperature. When digesting cold foods the body compensates during digestion by increasing your core temperature, meaning you may even feel hotter than you did before eating that ice lolly or sorbet.

 

Essentially, going with your gut is the most important thing. Eating what you like while ensuring to keep up with hydration should help to combat any negative effects of the heat. Also important to remember is that our eating habits naturally change with the seasons – you can read our blog post about summer eating habits here.

Anya

by Anya

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