• Tips on Beating the Heat this Summer

    by Beth Richwine | Jul 11, 2016

    It is starting to warm up nearly everywhere.  While it’s heating up outside, there is no reason to get heated inside.  With these tips and recipes, you are sure to stay cool!

    Food

    Have you heard that eating spicy food can cool you down?  It’s true!  By eating food that is hot, it may cause you to sweat, thus cooling you down.  Eating lighter meals are also good choices, such as salads.  Heavy, fatty foods will make you feel heavy and sluggish.  Watermelon and cantaloupe are great fruit to keep on hand for snacking.   Make our Melon Prosciutto Salad for a light and hydrating meal.

    Turn off the oven and turn on the grill and slow cooker.  Both options will not heat up your kitchen like a hot oven will.  We have several Slow Cooker recipes that you can make that not only keep the oven off, but make dinner time less daunting after a hot day.  Or try our Panzanella bread salad or cool Gazpacho for no-cook meal options.

    In the home

    Keep shades and curtains pulled during the hours when it is the hottest.  This can reduce heat into your home by about 45%.  You can open them at night when it is cooler and the sun has gone down.  Have you checked your fireplace damper?  In the summer months or when you are running an air conditioning unit, close the damper.  If the damper is open you are essentially pulling in hot air from outside causing it to work harder.

    If your dishwasher has the option, skip the dry cycle and let them air dry with the door open.  You will be surprised how much cooler you can keep the kitchen!

    You can remove hot air from a stuffy room with a box or window fan.  Point the blades outside to suck out the hot air at night, this works much better than blowing hot air around in a room.  Make sure you run the vent fan in your bathroom while taking showers; it helps remove moisture and humidity.

    Your body

    Wear light weight, loose fitting clothing made from cotton or linen (breathable) and choose light colors.  This allows air movement and sweat to evaporate keeping your cooler.  If you can, keep your feet cool by wearing sandals or breathable shoes.

    Drink plenty of water and drink often.  You need to replace moisture as you sweat it out to stay hydrated.  Alcohol, caffeinated drinks or drinks with lots of sugar are dehydrating and you should avoid on hot days.

    Did you know that you can cool yourself down by cooling your wrists?  Place a cold or frozen bottle of water against the inside of your wrist to quickly cool the blood flowing through your veins!  Another trick is to keep a spray bottle of filled with water in the fridge, when you get hot give yourself a quick spritz.  As the water evaporates, it cools you down.  Other body cooling spots include your neck (think pulse point), inside of your elbow and knees as well as the tops of your feet and inside of your ankle.  Did your mom put a cold compress or cool washcloth on your forehead when you ran a fever?  Although it is not a pulse spot, it is another common cooling spot, but the area in front of your ear closer to your temple is more ideal for cooling you down, think pulsing headache.  In the past couple of years, cooling towels have become very popular, they get cool when wet and kept around your neck can cool you down when you become overheated.

    How can you tell when you have overheated?  Signs of heat exhaustion include: confusion, dark urine (sign of dehydration), dizziness or fainting, fatigue, headache, muscle or abdominal cramps, nausea, pale skin, profuse sweating and rapid heartbeat.  If you have any of these symptoms, get in the shade, remove unnecessary or tight clothing, drink water and apply cooling cloths to the pulse points mentioned above.  More serious is heat stroke which can cause serious issues that require medical assistance.  Heat stroke is more common among adults over 50.  Symptoms can include: throbbing headache, dizziness or light-headedness, lack of sweating, red, hot and dry skin, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea or vomiting, rapid heartbeat, rapid shallow breathing, confusion or disorientation, seizure or unconsciousness.  If you or anyone around you displays these signs, call 911 and wait for the paramedics.  Get them to a cool place if you can and remove unnecessary clothing.  Try some of the cooling methods from above to help lower their body temperature while waiting for help.

    This summer be sure to wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, eat light meals and don’t forget to check on the elderly and your pets, they are susceptible to the heat and need a bit more attention on a hot day.  What's your favorite way to keep cool?