by Sharon Quercioli
With extreme heat settling over vast areas of the south and temperatures stuck at 100 degrees or more for days on end in some places, it’s time to adjust our diets to keep cool. When the weather heats up in the south, it’s especially important to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated will give you energy in the heat and keep your skin looking radiant and beautiful. Obviously water is the best source of hydration, but there are lots of foods you can eat that will help keep you hydrated in the warm southern weather.
Here are several food and drink tips to help keep you cool:
Water: Our bodies can consist of up to about 75% water (less as we age), and during this extreme heat we lose a lot of that fluid to sweat. Even mild dehydration will sap your energy and make you feel tired. Keep your body fluids replenished with plain water. Adding lemon to water adds vitamin C and citric enzymes.
Coconut Water: For centuries, people in Southeast Asian and Pacific Island countries have been drinking the water from young coconuts for hydration. It’s one of the best ways to replace the water and electrolytes that the body gives off in hot climates. Coconut water contains vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that perfectly replenish the body after a long day in the sun. Most grocery and health food stores sell it bottled in the beverage section.
Watermelon: Watermelon is one of the most hydrating foods that you can eat. It’s made up of mostly water, but it also has essential hydrating salts, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. It’s perfect for those hot summer days when you need to replenish your body.
Cucumbers: Like most fruits and vegetables, cucumbers are made up of mostly water. But they also have a lot of other nutrients that will hydrate and nourish the body. Cucumbers contain vitamin C and are also rich in caffeic acid, which helps soothe the skin. They are great to eat plan, or on top of salads. You can even add cucumber to your water for a refreshing summer drink!
Celery: Celery is a great snack to re-hydrate and rejuvenate the body and the skin. That’s because it’s almost all water, and it takes a lot of energy to crunch and swallow! But the refreshing veggie also provides lots of mineral salts, vitamins and amino acids.
Pineapples: Pineapples are one of my favorite summer fruits. On top of the hydrating elements of pineapple, it is packed with bromelain. Bromelain has many health benefits, mainly helping with digestion. Pineapple is a great fruit to eat to help the body naturally detoxify itself and lose weight.
Grapefruit: The juicy grapefruit has lots of health and hydration benefits. They are known to help control appetite, which help keep you on track if you’re trying to loose weight. Grapefruits make great snacks in between meals.
Berries: Berries contain high levels of antioxidants, which can help the body naturally detoxify itself and are also packed with water. Berries deliver tons of fiber, which can help you stay satisfied in between meals. Mix a bowl of ripe, organic blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries for the summer months when they’re in season!
Apples: Apples have been linked to lowering cholesterol levels, weight loss, and preventing cardiovascular disease and even cancer. The juicy fruits are a refreshing food to eat year-round. Green apples are lower in sugar than red apples. Remember the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Green Salad: Most lettuce contains more than 90% water. So not only do green salads make for a delicious appetizer, snack or lunch, but they also keep you hydrated in the summer weather. Lettuce also contains fiber, which will help keep you fuller longer. Eating salad will keep you healthy all around.
Cabbage: Cabbage is known to lower cholesterol, and it’s packed with tons of vitamin C. Incorporating cabbage into your diet can help you lose weight because it’s packed with fiber and natural probiotics, and it will make your skin look beautiful and more radiant. I love eating cabbage raw, in a fresh salad or on top of a green salad.
Red Bell Peppers: All bell peppers are hydrating sources of some of the best nutrients for the body. They contain vitamin C, thiamine, vitamin B6, beta-carotene and folic acid. Red bell peppers are even better because they contain lycopene. Add red bell peppers to your salads or eat them plain. They make a crunchy and refreshing midday snack!