By: Sally Writes
With summer fast approaching, many people assume that the best way to stay cool is to reach for an ice cream, soda or a cold dessert. However, high-sugar snacks like these can increase blood sugar levels and may actually have the opposite effect of giving you hot flashes or dehydrating you. The foods that keep you cool are not necessarily the ones you might consider, but can play an important role in keeping us hydrated, providing around a quarter of our daily water intake.
Let’s take a look at why hydration levels are so important for you and your family, and see how you can make sure everyone stays cool, hydrated and healthy this summer.
Hydration goes hand in hand with staying cool, as one of the key functions of water is to regulate body temperature. Your system also uses it to delivers oxygen to the heart, lubricate the joints and flush toxins out of your system.
The effects of dehydration can be immediate and severe. A case of heat stroke can even prove fatal, particularly in the very young or the elderly. It can also lead to less obvious long term problems – dehydration causes the blood to thicken, which puts strain on your heart and can lead to a variety of long-term problems.
And the effects are not just physical – 75 per cent of the human brain is made up of water, so it is hardly surprising that dehydration is known to cause feelings of dizziness and disorientation – some have even likened it to the feeling of drunkenness.
Healthy, Hydrating and Delicious
No surprise, then, that the key to taking on food and drink that will keep you hydrated is to choose those with high levels of H2O. Sweet, sugary drinks can do as much harm as good, but fresh fruit, including juices and smoothies are always a great choice for something that is both tasty and healthy.
Think a little outside the box for something that your family will really enjoy and see as a treat on a day out. For example:
· Imagine how delicious a slice of fresh watermelon could be during a family day at the beach. Cubes of watermelon are also a great addition to a pitcher of water for some added flavor.
· Cucumber has the highest water content of any solid food. Chop some up with yogurt, ice cubes and a little mint to make an unusual summer soup.
· Baby carrots contain higher water content than full size ones. They are also naturally sweeter and taste great dipped in hummus or guacamole.
Keeping it cool and fresh
It sounds like simple advice, but is not always so easy to keep fresh produce cool and appetizing on a family day out in hot weather.
Ice is an ideal solution, both for keeping food chilled in transit and to add a few cubes to your favorite juice. You could even make your own ice when you reach your destination and be the envy of those around you as you sit back in the sun with your preferred cooling drink.
It also gives you the opportunity to refresh the ice packs in your cool box whenever you need to, meaning that your healthy snacks will remain fresh throughout the whole day, or to make a fresh batch of that cucumber soup whenever you want to!