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7 ways to cool down this summer

Lifestyle — Posted 31/01/14

Feel refreshed with these simple tips for beating the heat.

1. Fill your kitchen with cooling foods

Summer produce can have a naturally cooling effect on the body, so stock up on foods like watercress, leafy greens, cucumber, celery, bean sprouts (particularly mung, soy and alfalfa), melons, grapes, apples, lemon and lime. Check out your local farmer’s market and buy fresh and get creative in making refreshing salads, fruit dips and wraps. Small amounts of pungent spices such as fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, horseradish and black pepper can also help cool you down by bringing heat to the surface of the body and dispersing it.

2. Stay hydrated

It sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the day, and during the hotter months we tend to need more hydration than usual. Drinking water helps replenish fluids lost by sweating, which is especially important if you’re doing any kind of exercise in the warm weather. The combination of hot temperatures and dehydration can be potentially dangerous, so buy a reusable water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day. Find the taste boring? Add berries, mint or slices of cucumber for a light, summery flavour.

3. Refresh with tea

Drinking herbal teas can cool you down, quench your thirst and sooth your body and mind. Go nuts with different flavours and infusions – mint, jasmine, green, chai, ginger, peach, lemon, berry … the choices are endless. Drink warm, or cool a batch in the fridge for a refreshing poolside treat. 

4. Do calming activities like yoga

Slow your mind and body down with gentle exercises such as yoga, pilates or meditation. Try deep floor stretches and restorative poses such as child’s pose, pigeon pose and moon stretch to release tension and get your thoughts centred. Focusing on your breathing, slowing down your movement and clearing your mind can have a cooling and calming effect. 

5. Eat lightly and often

When your digestive system is working overtime to break down heavy meals and overly processed, greasy or oily foods, your body can generate extra heat, making the hot weather more uncomfortable. Eat small, light meals regularly spaced out throughout the day and try to avoid anything that feels like it sits in your stomach for long hours. 

6. Use herbal remedies

Particular herbs can be used for their cooling properties when applied to the skin, like in a soap, lotion or spray. One simple idea is to make your own cooling mist using chamomile, dandelion leaf, hibiscus, raspberry leaf, peppermint or green tea. Brew up the tea and leave it in the fridge to cool, then simply pour it into a spray bottle and pull it out whenever you need a spritz to cool down your face or body. 

7. Cool your pressure points

When you’re dreaming of lazing in a pool but you’re stuck at the office, get that cooling sensation by making a little water go a long way. Dab water on your pressure points and places where heat tends to gather – wrists, temples, elbows, joint creases, back of the neck – and you’ll find some relief through your whole system.

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