Healthy Living

Keep your cool in the summer heat

Summer heat can zap your energy and motivation.

But there are carefree ways to keep cool.

So instead of getting cranky and yearning for fall’s crisp days to snap back to life, try these tips to get the most from the season.

Water … but more interesting

Staying hydrated will make you feel a lot better.

Water is an obvious option. But infusing it with fruit makes it more fun, especially when you’re downing a lot of H20.

“Water and flavored unsweetened seltzers are the best choices,” says Laurie Mitchell, RDN, assistant vice president of global wellbeing & health management for Colonial Life.

For example, La Croix offers a dizzying array of fizzy beverages in 12 ounce cans, from coconut to lime. It makes drinking a cold beverage that’s good for you a lot more exciting.

“Unsweetened or lightly sweetened iced tea and iced coffee can also be refreshing, but skip the flavored syrups and frozen versions that pack in the calories,” Mitchell says.

Garden delight

Heavy meals and hot days don’t mix well. Neither does the heat and steam your cooking generates.

Instead, take advantage of the season’s raw fruits and veggies.

“No cooking involved,” Mitchell says.

For breakfast, sprinkle berries or peaches on yogurt, a no-brainer.

Or create smoothies. Almost any combination of summer fruit with some water and yogurt or milk is delicious. Or try adding coconut water or coconut milk. For more protein, throw in hemp seeds.

For lunch or dinner, create your own take on gazpacho – so easy, you don’t need a recipe. In a blender or food processor, chop up ripe tomatoes, one or two fresh ingredients with kick (garlic, onion, jalapenos), lime and salt. To this, add more veggies: avocado, red or green peppers, cucumbers – whatever you find refreshing. For protein, top with shrimp, which you can find frozen and cooked (thaw, and then add – voila!).

Outsmarting the heat

If you’ve got A/C, you can cool down quickly. But if you don’t, or you want to save money and use less electricity, a few simple habits help.

Cut time on a computer. It generates heat within a foot or two of you. And if you’re running a laptop on – what else – your lap, move it to another surface. Your roasting thighs will thank you.

Turn on a fan. Obvious right? But are you using one? Moving air cools you. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a ceiling fan will make the ambient air feel 4 degrees cooler.

Use LED light bulbs. They give off very little heat.

If you’re going to be in the sun, wear light colors, which don’t soak up the sun’s rays. And wear natural fibers, such as linen, whose weave helps air flow to your skin.

There are plenty more ways to cool down, but they require concerted effort (a very cold foot bath) and get a little weird (putting your sheets in the freezer before bed, wearing ice packs). Sticking to the basics here shouldn’t cramp your routine or make you feel like you’re going out of the way to get comfortable.

Learn more about journalist and wellness writer Mitra Malek at www.mitramalek.com.

 

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