As the temperatures are climbing, it is difficult to escape the scorching sun, but you can cope better with foods that can lower your body temperature. The following nutrition tips will keep you feeling your best this summer.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Nothing is more important than keeping our body well hydrated when it is apt to lose fluids more rapidly. Research has shown how hydration can affect our mood, memory, mind and even our reaction time. Although it is essential to consume adequate water during exercise, it is just as important to someone working on a computer all day. Always keep a jug of water by your side. Experts advise consuming half of your body weight in ounces daily.
- Infuse your beverage with fresh fruit and herbs. Herbs such as dandelion root, peppermint, mint, and cilantro are cooling herbs.
- Shop local farmer’s markets. Local, seasonal produce offers greater freshness and nutritional value. Plan your menu around these seasonal favorites: lettuce greens, summer squash, sweet peppers, green beans, grapes, zucchini, blackberries, blueberries, apples, corn, cucumbers, figs, garlic, onion, and sweet potatoes.
- Exercise during the coolest part of the day. Drinking coconut water post-workout is refreshing and will replace lost electrolytes. Beware of brands with added sugar!
- Enjoy the summer sweetness of fruit. Fruit is high in antioxidants and fiber, and a flavorful addition to salad, smoothies, and breakfast bowls. Fruit is also delicious grilled and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. Try freezing grapes, berries, and sliced bananas for a chilly snack!
- Cool down with smoothies. Prep your smoothies on the weekend for busy weekday mornings. Just be sure to balance fresh and frozen fruit with greens and healthy fats, such as MCT oil, chia or flax seeds for extra fiber to keep satiated for hours, and to reduce the impact on your blood sugar. Simply add fruit, greens, and seeds to individual freezer-safe baggies and freeze. In the morning, toss the contents of one baggie into a blender with water, coconut water, or your favorite nut milk and a squeeze of MCT oil. MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) aids in weight loss and is an instant source of energy. MCTs also contain a variety of antimicrobial and antifungal effects.
- Water-rich foods have an added benefit of trimming your waistline. Cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, strawberries, peaches, oranges, lettuce, and zucchini. These foods are high in nutrients while being low in calories.
- Keep meals on the lighter side. At this time of year, we are shifting from heavier fall and winter foods to lighter fare. It is better to avoid high-calorie food that increases body heat. Summer salads, chicken or wild-caught salmon on the grill, and light desserts, such as my favorite (all year round) is blended coconut milk with frozen berries. Toss a handful of frozen berries and chilled coconut milk into a blender, and voila! This sweet treat is chock full of nutrients and healthy fats, so a little will satisfy you quickly. Pour the leftover mixture into an ice cube tray, cover with plastic wrap, and insert a toothpick in each. So simple and satisfyingly delicious!