What lengths did you go to to cool down before bed on those fateful days of unbearable heat last week? Bed sheets in the freezer? Wet towel as a duvet? Ice bath before bed? Well, get ready to try it all again as the heat is set to return this weekend. While there are plenty of strange, short-term fixes to cooling down during the heat, one of the best things you can do to regulate your temperature is alter your diet.
In fact, just this morning it was revealed that eggs are surprisingly great to eat for dinner during a heat wave, in order to help you sleep through those boiling, hallucinogenic dreams. Dietitian Sharon Natoli spoke to the Daily Mail Australia, saying ‘Something as simple as eating eggs at dinnertime can be a natural sedative as egg whites help the body prepare for bedtime by producing melatonin – which brings on that sleepy feeling.’
With that in mind, we’ve decided to do some digging and find out exactly what we should and shouldn’t be eating to stay cool during this heatwave. Because, if we need anything back from winter, it’s the ability to sleep through the night without waking up in hot sweats...
Food you should be eating to stay cool...
Whatever way you want them, eggs will send you into a dreamy slumber apparently. Not only that but according to Sharon, 'they are also a rich source of the amino acid typtophan, which means that they help you to sleep better for longer by telling your brain to shut down for the night.'
Well, something needs to tell our brains to shut down for the night because we're absolutely shocking at it.
Staying hydrated is integral in the heat, especially if you don't want to wake up in the night gasping for a drink. Spinach and other dark leafy greens are perfect for this as they have a high-water content. In fact, spinach is made up of water by 92%. Not only that, but it's easily digestible, so your body doesn't have to work too hard and in turn increase your temperature.
Is there anything more grown-up that eating fresh melon on a Sunday morning? This perfect summer food is not only super refreshing in the heat, but it's made up of 95% water and so another hydrating, cooling food. Better still, it contains lycopene, which protects you from sun exposure. Essentially, carry melon with you at all times is what we're choosing to take from this.
It may sound counter-intuitive to eat hot foods during a heatwave, but studies have shown that spicy food actually cools you down. By increasing your blood circulation, it causes 'gustatory facial sweating', according to Luke LaBorde, a professor of food science at Penn State University. By raising your internal temperature, you have actually matched the outside heat and induced sweating that in turn cools you down.
It might not be the most appealing food to eat, but honestly once you're packing your bed sheet into the freezer do you have much else to lose?
Foods you should avoid eating to stay cool...
Ice Cream, Lollies And Iced Tea Or Coffee
In the same vein as eating spicy food to cool down, eating cold foods can actually warm you up. By decreasing your internal temperature rapidly, your body over-reacts (so dramatic) and raises your temperature in response. Alas, you're left hot and bothered again soon after finishing that lovely iced coffee.
Mangoes are part of a food group that flush water out of the body, called diuretic foods, and so are best to be avoided during the heat. If you spending half your day sipping on water to stay hydrated, there's no point ruining all of that by eating foods that intend to rid you of water. Other diuretic foods include fennel, artichokes and asparagus.
Your body needs protein, regardless of the weather, however it is more difficult to digest and causes thermogenesis, which increases your temperature. So, while you might spend the entire Summer avoiding carbohydrates (which is also ridiculous, just saying), they're easier to digest in the heat and are less likely to increase your temperature.
That being said, make sure you're getting a healthy protein intake from somewhere. The heatwave may take our sleep, but it won't take our macronutrients!
By far the most disappointing outcome of this investigation is the discovery that we should actually be avoiding the beer gardens in this heat. We all knew it already given alcohol is a known dehydrator, but it's sad nonetheless. One of the most powerful diuretics, breaking the seal and urinating endlessly after drinking is the worst accompaniment to a heatwave.