Summer, sun, sunshine: Although many people enjoy the high temperatures, heat waves can also become a major burden. Not only do they pose a threat to physical health, they can also trigger mental illnesses. A nutrition expert explains how you can defy the summer temperatures.
There are various means of making the high temperatures of midsummer more bearable – but what effect do the various forms of cooling actually have on the human organism? The expert Sandra Holasek from the Medical University (Med Uni) Graz has the answers and some heat tips ready in a message.
Drinking behavior is slowed down by drinks that are too cold
Summer makes you want to do something and the sun draws us outside so that we can enjoy its warming rays. But the heat itself and especially activities and exercise in high temperatures also mean stress for the body.
With ice cream for dessert and a few ice cubes in a glass, high temperatures can be endured much better.
“In general, drinks taste better to us when they’re below 22 degrees, and that’s why we feel the urge to only consume chilled drinks,” explains Sandra Holasek from the Chair of Immunology at the Otto Loewi Research Center at Med Uni Graz .
“However, if we also cool the drinks down even further with ice cubes, our drinking behavior is automatically slowed down. So you drink less liquid overall because the drink is too cold for your body,” says the nutrition expert.
This is a problem, especially in summer, when we dehydrate more easily and are therefore even more dependent on sufficient fluids.
It is better to leave a little more time for cool refreshments
Too much of a good thing is rather counterproductive when it comes to cooling down. This also applies to the enjoyment of ice lollies and the like. Because these sweet temptations give us the longed-for coldness and also have an acute performance-enhancing and thus “refreshing” effect due to the sugar content, but this effect only lasts for a short time.
“The human mouth is a checkpoint, a lot happens here. Even before we’ve swallowed the ice cream, signals are transmitted to the brain via taste and thermoreceptors,” explains the expert.
“Thus, a chilled food not only signals a subjective perception of ‘freshness’ from our taste archive, but there is also a physiologically measurable cooling of the head area and we find that pleasant.”
Anyone who has ever overdone it because of the sheer heat and eaten the ice cream too quickly may also be familiar with the “brain freeze”.
“The rapid consumption of cold food and drinks increases blood flow in the head area and the vessels dilate. This is also the reason for the so-called cold headaches,” says Holasek. So it is better to leave a little more time with cool refreshments and enjoy the soothing ice cream in peace.
The most important thing is getting enough liquid every day, says Sandra Holasek. This applies not only, but especially in summer. Despite being distracted by the various activities, we must not ignore our feeling of thirst or forget to drink something from time to time.
Ideally, you should start drinking a glass of liquid first thing in the morning. And then drink consistently by the glass throughout the day, because once there is a gap in hydration, we tend to want to fill it up all at once too quickly.
“Drinking at least two to three liters of water that is not too cold or fruit juices that are not too cold throughout the day is the best way to avoid thirst or overheating of the body,” recommends Sandra Holasek.
Peppermint is also a good tip: fresh in the glass, as a chilled tea or as chewing gum in between. The menthol it contains stimulates cold receptors in the mouth and throat, makes breathing easier and thus complements the cooling effect.
At high outside temperatures, a plant-based diet with lots of bound water and electrolytes has also been confirmed as an important factor in preventing heat stress and the corresponding immune and organ restrictions. Well prepared for a hot summer day, nothing stands in the way of enjoying a scoop of ice cream. (ad)