Surprising Tips To Beat The Heat
August 21, 2012

Cold Water And Ice Cream Not The Best Way To Beat The Heat

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

As the heat of summer starts to slow down, and the season of orange and red leaves starts to peek its way around the corner, new science shows just how we can be better about beating the heat next year.

Immediately, the thought of ice cream probably sticks in most Americans minds as a way to try and keep cool in the summer's sweltering heat, but in actuality that is flawed thinking, scientists said in a press conference.

Shirley O. Corriher and Sara Risch shared findings at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) that cramming cold sodas and gelato down your gullet isn't how you need to cool off.

Apparently, the initial coolness you feel is your body actually reacting negatively, trying to heat itself back up to a normal body temperature after the sharp reaction from the cold hitting your throat. Also, the scientists' findings show that because ice cream is high in fat and high in protein, it does just what you don't want your body to do, it warms you up.

Corriher and Risch said you get cooling on the spot, but it doesn't last long term like you need it too.

The scientists said at the press conference that astringent foods are another good type of food to help keep you cool in the summer, which can include many raw fruits and vegetables.

Corriher, a biochemist and author of "CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking," said a key to staying cool was "hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!"

She told reporters that fruits and vegetables are nothing but wrappers for water. She said watermelon is a real winner, as well as cucumbers.  Cold carbs found in fruits and vegetables are vital in acting as major communicators to get messages back and forth from your body to your brain, the scientists said.

Also, the scientists said to look at foods that have whole grains, because they help supply minerals like magnesium, which relaxes muscles.

Another eyebrow raising find is that spicy foods can actually help cool you off in the hot days of the summer. These foods make you perspire, which they said is actually good for you because the water comes to the surface of the skin and helps create evaporative cooling.

Cold water is another surprising twist in things not to drink in the summer, but instead you should try drinking room temperature water. Like ice cream, the cold water gives you the initial feeling of cooling down, but ultimately works against you, creating more heat.

Water isn't the only thing you should be drinking during the scorching heat to try and cool off. The scientists said at the conference that wine is another one of nature's air conditioning units.

Wine is an astringent food, and the tannins found in these materials helps to cause perspiration and dry mouth, which actually helps the cells want to absorb more water. The researchers did warn that you should only drink it in moderation, because too much of it can actually dehydrate you.

Corriher gave an example at the conference and said that in the tropics, mothers hold their babies close and feed them warm milk all the time, because if they were fed cold milk they would die because their body would be trying to warm itself back up.

Keeping cool in the summer is vital to your health, and the scientists said that more people die from heat related illnesses than weather related instances every year.

Corriher said not to take heat lightly, because people in hot climates have a much shorter life expectancy. "Get in the cool, enjoy the cool," she told reporters.