As the summer heat intensifies, many of us are quick to blast the air conditioning to cool down. However, not everyone has access to air conditioning inside of their home, or maybe just prefer not to use it often to cut down on energy and bills. Whatever the reason may be, there are other ways to keep your body and home cool in the heat of the summer. Many of us have heard tips such as keeping your blinds drawn during the day, staying inside during peak heat hours, using fans to circulate air, avoid using the stove and opting for more loose and breathable clothing. But what are some other natural things we can do to keep our bodies cool?
The first being to lighten your diet and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Did you know, many people have smaller appetites in the summer due to your body requiring less energy for thermoregulation? ‘Tis the season to eat small meals with light ingredients – additionally, avoiding any heavy, greasy and/or fried foods (we should be avoiding these anyway) as well as alcohol and sweets will be of great benefit. Contrary to belief, overly consuming “cooling” foods and liquids can actually do more harm than good. These foods require more energy from the body and can slow digestion and metabolism which can in turn lead to possible bloating, stomach pain, and even diarrhea. It’s suggested to instead choose foods that have a “cooling effect” on the body. Examples from mindbodygreen.com include: watermelon, mint, cucumbers, green tea, celery, strawberry and yogurt.
While cooling your body from the inside out is of great benefit, it’s not to say that we can never cool down by our exterior. Putting washcloths or items of clothing, such as socks, into the freezer to use throughout the day (or night) can really come in handy for those much needed quick cool down sessions. There is an old “Egyptian” technique that would have you soak your sheets in cold water, and then wring it dry (just so it’s damp, not wet) to use as a blanket. As the water evaporates, you get all the benefits of staying cool without being wet; similar to how we leave damp washcloths on our foreheads when we’re feeling ill.
Another less common, but quick and effective technique that can be used is acupressure – the technique of applying pressure to key points of the body – can greatly help to cool the body down. Applying pressure to these key parts of your body (see images below) can help to ease irritability and eliminate heat within the body. To complete the technique, you will want to hold down on the point for four breaths, release for one breath, and repeat these steps for up to one or two minutes. You can do this whenever you feel overheated, wherever you are!
Using these quick tips can tremendously help you to stay cool, even on the hottest of days.
To your health and wellness,
Executive Assistant, Stephanie Pete
EPIC Functional Medicine