Best foods for keeping cool during UK heatwave

UK heatwave: Dr Amir gives advice on staying cool at night

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Over the next few days the UK may experience a heat that is totally unheard of in this part of the world. As well as staying in the shade and limiting travel, here’s one thing Britons can control to stay cool.

Many Britons will be reaching for the ice cream during the UK heatwave.

However, this may not be the smartest move.

While cold treats such as ice creams do provide a little initial relief, the process of eating is heat generating which leads to an increase in temperature.

Cold snacks and even drinks such as slushies make the body overcompensate by increasing its core temperature.

“You may actually end up feeling hotter than you did to start with!” Nutritionist Kerry Torrens told BBC Good Food.

So, while it may seem counterintuitive, warm drinks may be your best bet on these scorching days.

Avoid coffee if possible though, as it has a diuretic effect (makes you lose water).

This goes for alcohol, too.

Sweat has a cooling effect, so encouraging the body to sweat using food is one way to cope during extreme temperatures.

Warm drinks raise the body’s temperature, which makes the body want to cool down through sweat.

Spicy food works in the same way, as it will also inspire the body to sweat.

Meals that are rich in fluids, for example soups, keep the body from being too hot or dehydrated.

Foods such as strawberries, melon, celery and cucumber are also great ways to consume some extra water.

The NHS previously provided a guide for surviving a heatwave with food and drink.

It stated: “Drink regularly even if you do not feel thirsty.”

Water and fruit juice are the “best” choices.

As for food, the NHS advised against filling up on huge plates.

“Eat light meals with a higher proportion of vegetables,” the government department advised.

“Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit, which contain water.”

According to nutritionist Kerry, foods that are high in protein, sugar and fibre require more effort to digest and are thought to generate more body heat.

BBC Good Food recommended mitigating this by using “citrus-rich marinades on meat to break down the protein structure and soaking grains to help make the fibre more digestible”.

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