By: Tamara Jacobi
With the temperature rising, you might be tempted to reach for some cooling and refreshing treats. Summer often inspires thoughts of ice cream, popsicles, cold soda and foods associated with a variety of other childhood memories. While these foods offer temporary cooling for your body and a blast of nostalgia, they can actually inhibit your body’s natural cooling mechanisms. Now is a great time to put a spotlight on some foods that will support your body’s internal cooling system. Also, if you’re ready to give your body a nutritional blast for summer be sure to check out my 30 Day Nourishment Challenge!
To get you started, here are some great cooling and nourishing foods for summer.
Watermelon is one of my summertime favorites! A watermelon roughly contains 80-90% water making it a great thirst quencher. It also has a light taste of sweet sugar syrup that can be much more tasty than plain water. Juicy and delicious watermelons are a rich source of essential vitamins like vitamin A, B and C and anti-oxidants. Eating a cool wedge of watermelon is one of the best ways to enjoy the crunchy cooling fruit. Another great way is to make a watermelon drink: simply blend sizeable watermelon cubes with fresh lime juice and add in a few ice cubes.
This wonderful water-filled vegetable is not only a great way to beat the heat but it’s also low calorie, easy to digest and high in nutrition. Also, when eaten with its peel, it is a good dietary fiber that helps prevent constipation and that in the long run, prevents extra buildup of heat in the body. Be sure to add cucumbers and other leafy vegetables with high water content to your summer diet. Fresh salads are a great way to go.
Coconut water is basically the translucent juice found inside a coconut when cracked open. The sweet water is packed with sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes that make up this most refreshing natural drink. It replenishes and hydrates the body, keeping the body water levels balanced. It should be taken without any additional ingredients and immediately be used or stored in the refrigerator because it spoils easily. A simple way to enjoy this drink is by adding lime and mint leaves to iced coconut water.
Once summer pops up, there’s a lemonade stand in every street you turn. Gulping down a chilled glass of good old lemonade is simply bliss on a hot sticky day. It has high water content and is rich in Vitamin C since it is made out of lemon. Be sure to avoid highly sweetened varieties or whenever possible, go for a lemonde that is naturally sweetened with agave, honey or stevia.
Apples, lime, oranges, grape fruit, peaches, pears among others have high water content and are rich in Vitamin C. Citrus fruits also aid in digestion and help in the breakdown of fatty foods, thereby keeping you in shape. By releasing heat from the body, they regulate the body’s hydration levels. Toss a handful of citrus fruits in your fruit salad and enjoy a healthy and fruity desert that will keep you cool in the summer.
The idea of spicy foods in the summer may not be appealing, but spicy foods actually cool the body by increasing circulation of blood and by helping us break a sweat. This releases the excessive heat from our bodies. Adding spices like hot chili pepper, capsicum or ginger helps to rapidly raise your body temperature then lower it, which lowers your internal body temperature. Might be time to have some Mexican or Thai food!
For tea lovers out there, it’s a relief there’s something called iced green tea which you can enjoy in summer. The light green drink originated from China and can simply be made by boiling green tea leaves in distilled water. Green tea is full of anti-oxidants and had anti-aging properties. Some studies show that sunburns can be healed by taking green tea. Because of its slightly bitter taste, green tea maybe unpleasant but you can add a little zest by brewing it with mint leaves for a refreshing taste and serve over ice.
What food says summer more than summer squash? This creamy fleshy white food is a good source of anti-oxidants and it belongs to a family of plants that are related to watermelon and even cucumbers. Apart from having anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, summer squash has healthy nutrients that help regulate blood sugar in our bodies. You can prepare a healthy meal of this yummy food by steaming it, which helps to retain most of the nutrients contrary to boiling or cooking using a microwave. It is better to eat summer squash alone or 30 minutes before a meal to prevent bloating.
Tamara Jacobi, Certified Health Coach
Tamara Jacobi is a certified health and nutrition coach who received her training at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is the founder of Jungle Girl Health, www.junglegirlhealth.com, offering health coaching over the phone to individuals who are ready to feel and look their best. By using whole foods for healing and lifestyle balancing techniques, Tamara helps people understand how to heal and nourish their bodies completely.
Tamara leads an adventurous and active lifestyle, dividing her time between the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the Mexican Pacific coastline. In Mexico, she is the owner and manager of the Tailwind jungle lodge, a certified sustainable jungle lodge and adventure tour company just north of Puerto Vallarta, www.tailwindjunglelodge.com. Tamara also guides adventure tours for the Tailwind jungle lodge including sea kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and hiking. In her free time she spends as much time as possible playing outside. She is a passionate skier, road biker, trail runner and stand up paddle boarder.