Summers seem to be getting harsher and the sun stronger. It’s like dehydration, sweat, and the overall icky feeling sum up the season. According to Ayurveda, when things heat up on the outside, it’s important for us to cool down on the inside, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has an effect on everything we do. So as we wait patiently for the cool autumn winds to knock on our doors, we’ll beat the scorching summer heat with these simple (some obvious, some not so much) everyday life hacks.
Staying hydrated is important no matter what the weather or season is. To amp up your hydration, start your day with a glass of water. If you’re one of those people who “forget” to drink water or have an “I don’t feel thirsty” excuse up your sleeve, keep a water bottle near you and take small sips every 30 mins. Also, drink up (water, please) before hitting the bed — 1 glass of water will do unless you want to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Although the rising mercury is beyond your control, you can call the cooling shots with what you eat. Choose sweet, bitter, and astringent foods to stay cool. Some good examples include mint, coriander leaves, grapes, pineapple, cucumber, broccoli, sweet potato, green leafy vegetables, green beans, zucchini, avocado, plum, and cherries. Warm milk, ghee, and butter also have cooling effects on the body. If drinking gallons of water a day feels hard to keep up, eat fruits like watermelon to add to the hydration quotient.
When it’s already hot on the outside, the last thing you want to do is heat your body from the inside. Go easy on the chilli, high-protein meals, and spicy food. Spices such as black pepper, cumin, and ginger are okay in small amounts, but it’s best to stay away from red chilli powder. Salty food, caffeine, and alcohol also dehydrate the body and, as a result, cause skin irritation in the summers. Caffeine also reduces the body’s cooling ability as it constricts blood vessels.
This is quite the contrary to what you’ll want to do. A sip of chilled iced tea or mojito to balance the sting left by a mouthful of that spicy curry, pure bliss, right? No! Iced water slows down the digestion process and makes the body generate more heat to keep the digestive engines working. Drinking water at room temperature allows digestion to take place much faster and also helps you rehydrate quickly.
Eating big meals sends your body into a metabolic overdrive, raising your core body temperature. Ever noticed how you feel hot and stuffy (and even sweaty) when you overeat? That’s the body’s way of compensating the food overload. Instead of a few heavy meals, eat more smaller meals throughout the day to keep hunger at bay. Make fruits and vegetables (which are loaded with water) a major portion of these small meals to keep your body comfortably hydrated.
Going out in the sun, especially when it is the strongest, exposes you to harmful UV rays and puts you at risk of heat stroke. Do your runs or rides in the morning when it is relatively cooler. If you’re a runner or cyclist, or practice any sport to stay fit, you also need strength training to complement your sport and avoid injuries. At ImStrong, you can get your share of strengthening under the watchful eyes of a professional fitness trainer right at home.
The state of your mind affects the state of your body. And the trick to turn your mind’s temperature down is to take a little time out every day to meditate or practice breathing exercises. The yoga trainers at ImStrong always include a few minutes of pranayama in every yoga class. Now you know why. If your mind is too exhausted to work out, listen to some good music or take a walk in the park to calm your mind.
Congratulations, you’re all set to be a cool cucumber this summer! Share these tips with your family and friends to help them stay cool too.