North Queenslanders are no strangers to heat, And the mercury is set to rise again this summer, in between tropical downpours (we hope). Here is our guide to what you should be eating and drinking to feel your best in the heat this summer.
A heat wave can be more than just uncomfortable, it can be detrimental to our physical and mental wellbeing. This means that during our summer heat, we need the right fuel to keep going. So what are the best foods to tuck into when the sun begins to scorch the front lawn? Here are some of our favourites, as well as some that are best left for the cooler months.
Let’s start with the basics. You have to remain hydrated – especially in the extreme heat.
You should stick to the bare minimum of six to eight large glasses of water a day, which can include milk, juice, smoothies and sugar-free soft drinks.
Just remember that anything with caffeine will act as a diuretic, meaning you will actually lose fluid. Alcohol doesn’t count either, soz.
Fruit and vegetables
While water is important, foods make up 20 – 30 per cent of our daily fluid intake.
Fruit and vegies are packed full of water, with strawberries, cucumber, celery, lettuce and melons at the top of the list.
This makes summer the perfect time to experiment with salads and fruit mocktails.
A good old fashioned stew
This may come as a surprise, considering winter is normally the time we break out the slow cooker for a traditional stew, but water-based foods are excellent at hydrating you and you can mix up the ingredients to give them a summer feel.
Lighter-bodied meats like chicken and fish make for perfect hero ingredients while smoothie bowls and fruit-filled porridges are perfect breakfast fodder.
Cold treats can do more harm than good
We don’t mean to shock you, but ice cream and slushies are bad news in the heat.
While they initially refresh you, they can throw your body’s temperature regulator way out of whack. This is because the process of digestion requires heat, and rapidly cooling your body with an ice cream will kick-start a rise in your core temperature to compensate.
So it’s short term gain for long term pain when it comes to the sweet treats.
Have a cuppa, or a blast of chilli
The hot foods and drinks can actually work wonders in the heat as they engage your body’s natural air-conditioning.
Warm drinks will moderately lift your core temperature and trigger your body’s defence mechanisms, aka sweating.
Chilli does the same thing as it resets the metabolism. This doesn’t mean you sweat buckets, just that your body’s natural temperature regulation will work as it should.
Steer clear of mangoes
Another North Queensland favourite nixxed, we’re afraid. The big, juicy mango is actually a diuretic as well, which makes it not much chop in a heatwave….
Unless you are in air-conditioning, or a pool, with a beer or a cold glass of wine. That tends to beat the heat pretty effectively as well.