The normal human body temperature ranges between 36.5 to 37.5-degree Celsius. The hypothalamus and the autonomous nervous system are responsible for maintaining body temperature. There are various reasons that lead to an increase in body temperature. It is best to trust body cooling foods at this point.
Understandably, foods that cool your body are named body cooling foods. But what’s the science behind this and how do heat reducing foods work? Let’s find out.
Causes for Rise in Body Temperature
Various factors can cause the body temperature to rise, leading to heat stress. The noted causes of the rise in body temperature are:
- Strenuous activity
- Extremely hot and humid weather conditions
- Fever, infection or illness
- Hyperthyroidism or an increase in the production of thyroid hormone
- Prolonged physical activity under the direct sun’s heat
- Wearing synthetic fibres or tight-fitting clothes
- Excessive intake of oily, spicy, high-protein foods during summer
- Use of drugs like opioids, antibiotics, or antihistamines
- Low fluid intake or dehydration
Signs and Symptoms of Internal Heat
As the body temperature begins to rise, there are a few notable indications of internal heat. These are:
- Inflammation and body pain
- Redness, swelling, and pulsating heartbeat
- Acid reflux, stomach bloating, and poor digestion
- Aggression and anger
Best Body Cooling Foods
A prolonged increase in body temperature can have serious health effects. Listed below are the best body cooling foods that can help bring down body temperatures:
1. Coconut Water
Coconut water has natural body cooling properties. It is an excellent source of electrolytes and rich in nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin C. This helps regulate body temperature and reduce heat stress.
Curd is an all-season food. It is one of the best body cooling foods as it contains high amounts of probiotics. Its high antimicrobial and antioxidant properties make it work like a coolant for the body.
Mint or peppermint is one of the most commonly consumed herbs. The mint leaves help neutralise heat effects on the body. Besides regulating body temperature, the presence of menthol has a cooling effect on the body.
Watermelon is a juicy summer fruit with almost 92% water. It is a rich source of antioxidants that render a cooling effect on the body. The high water content keeps the body hydrated, helping regulate body temperature.
Churned from fresh curd and flavoured with mint leaves, coriander, rose syrup, and several other ingredients, it is a superfood to combat internal heat. The ultimate cold food for body, it provides the essential vitamins, minerals, and probiotics that have a beneficial impact on the digestive system.
Cucumbers are almost 95% water. They help keep the body hydrated. In addition to water, it is loaded with fibre, which helps relieve constipation, one of the most common side effects of increased body temperature.
7. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits namely lime, lemon, and orange, are an excellent source of Vitamin C. The vitamin is responsible for the weight loss and supporting healthy digestion. The high antioxidant properties provide a cooling effect on the body.
8. Sugarcane Juice
Freshly squeezed sugarcane juice is one of the best foods to reduce body heat. Sugarcane juice contains high amounts of glucose and electrolytes that act as an instant energy boost and protects the body from the summer heat. When mixed with mint, ginger, and lime, it takes taste and nutrition to another level.
Chas or buttermilk is the by-product of churning butter from milk. It is a low-fat, high-protein drink which contains high amounts of calcium, vitamin B12, potassium, and probiotics. It is a great food for the stomach and helps regulate body temperature. It is one of the quickest reliefs for acid reflux, a symptom of internal heat.
10. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a wonder food known for its soothing, moisturising, and cooling properties. Its use helps reduce body heat both internally and externally. It has great antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It is a natural laxative that eases stomach problems.
11. Cayenne Pepper and Chilli
Cayenne Pepper and chillies are spicy foods rich in capsaicin which triggers nerve receptors in the tongue. Once the tongue recognises capsaicin, the nerve receptors send a message to the brain indicating that the body is overheating. This turns on the cooling mechanism like sweating to bring down body temperature. So, while spices are thermogenic, they also help the body cool down.
Celery is a green plant which has a long fibrous stalk that tapers into leaves. With almost 95% water and essential nutrients like zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, it keeps you hydrated and regulates body temperature.
Lemonade, shikanji, or lime water is one of the best body cooling foods. It is a simple preparation of lime water with added salt and sugar. It helps maintain the body’s electrolyte balance which keeps you refreshed, hydrated, and helps regulate body temperature.
14. Tropical Fruits
Tropical fruits like papaya, pineapple, and mangoes contain high amounts of bromelain enzyme which is vital for fighting inflammation. The high anti-inflammatory properties have a cooling effect on the body.
Onions are naturally rich in quercetin, a compound that works as a natural anti-allergen. It fights free radicals that increase the inflammatory response. Onions also contain a volatile oil that helps in balancing the body’s temperature, lending a cooling effect.
Picking the Best Body Cooling Foods
Body cooling foods will regulate body temperature. While all can work wonders, a few can deliver quicker and better results. Here are three simple rules to follow when looking for foods that cool your body. These are:
1. Choose Water-Based Foods
As discussed above, even spicy foods can render a cooling effect on the body. But when looking for instant and effective results, choose water-based cooling foods. As against spicy curries and pungent foods, a sumptuous intake of water-based foods such as cucumber, watermelon, coconut, tropical fruits, etc. will have a higher cooling effect.
They can be consumed as-it-is or can be added to different recipes of smoothies, salads, or shakes. Water-based foods also keep the body well-hydrated which allows the body temperature to stay regulated.
2. Pick High-Electrolyte Foods
Spicy foods trigger sweating which helps the body cool down but the body loses essential electrolytes in the process. It is important to replenish the lost electrolytes to regulate body temperature. Whenever possible, pick foods and drinks that have a high electrolyte composition like coconut water, lemonade, watermelon, etc. instead of spicy and pungent foods to keep the body temperature regulated.
3. Opt for Foods at Room Temperature
If you thought body cooling foods act accordingly because of their cold temperature, you are wrong. Its physical temperature has nothing to do with its cooling effect on the body. Ironically, eating very cold foods or drinking iced drinks can cause the lining of the mouth and oesophagus to contract. This can make the body work harder to warm up the affected body parts. This leads to the generation of more heat and subsequently increases body temperature. Go in for foods at room temperature to stay cool and active.
Tips to Include Body Cooling Foods
To make sure you get a distinct variety of each food, follow these simple tips to include body cooling foods in your diet:
- Include all sweet, bitter and astringent tastes in your daily diet.
- Prefer consuming more raw foods.
- Eat regularly. Do not skip meals.
- Eat smaller, lighter meals. Include more fruits and veggies.
- Prefer non-starchy vegetables. Make interesting dips, smoothies and salads with them.
- Go in for liquid-based meals like veg smoothies and soups.
- Avoid stimulants like alcohol and coffee.
- Add loads of fresh fruits to your breakfast bowl.
- Make curd an integral part of your daily diet.
Body cooling foods are an apt way to stay healthy in the fiery sun and humid weather conditions. Their innate ability to remain easy on the digestive system makes them the perfect heat reducing foods for summers. Body cooling foods are primarily water-based and contain ample amounts of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
They help regulate the body temperature by keeping you hydrated and maintaining a proper electrolyte balance. This enhances digestion, maintains blood sugar balance and regulates blood pressure levels. There are amazing ways to include body cooling foods in your daily diet – add it to your smoothie, salad, herb sauce or curd bowls; and you are good to go for summer!