Summer Foods to Beat the Heat

Photo: John P As temperatures begin to rise it's important to consume foods and beverages that help lower your body temperature and make you feel refreshed and light. Luckily, nature provides an abundant array of seasonal fruits and vegetables that enable everyone to stay cool and revitalized all summer long. So, next time the heat robs your ambition to cook or dampens your appetite, try these tips to stay cool in and out of the kitchen.

Photo: Farmanac

Eat watermelon. Since watermelon contains 80% water, it will quench your thirst and keep you hydrated. Make a salad of feta, watermelon, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper for a quick no-cook lunch, or just slice a watermelon and eat it whole. Try a stacked salad with watermelon and manchego slices.

Ingest spicy foods. It is no coincidence that the hottest cuisines come from balmy climates. It seems counterintuitive, but spicy foods help the body cool down fast by making you sweat. Start by adding salsas to meats, fresh horseradish to salad dressings, or drinking ginger tea. Combine watermelon with spicy jalapeño in this 'Yes, Chef' tomato and watermelon salad.

Use less heat intensive cooking methods. Nothing heats up a kitchen like a hot oven. Stick to steaming or quick sautes when cooking during the balmy months. This way you do not add extra heat to your kitchen. Great foods to steam include fish, vegetables, tofu, and chicken. (Or check out this No-Cook Recipe for tomato, onion and black bean salad.)

Drink green juice. Mom was on to something when she urged you to eat your greens. Green, leafy vegetables--like kale, spinach, and swiss chard--are loaded with calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals, which are crucial for helping regulate temperature. Basically, the nutrients in leafy greens allows the nervous system to send signals  between the brain and the body, helping regulate internal temperature. My favorite green juice consists of kale, parsley, celery, green peppers, and a cucumber.

For more Health & Wellness articles:

Safe Grilling in Summer

Spring Clean Your Diet

What to Eat Before and After Your Workout

Get Ready for Summer