News / Health

Certain Foods Have Cooling Effect in Hot Weather

A person holds a cut watermelon at a fruit stand. A person holds a cut watermelon at a fruit stand.
x
A person holds a cut watermelon at a fruit stand.
A person holds a cut watermelon at a fruit stand.
Jessica Berman
Many countries have experienced record-setting high temperatures this year that many attribute to global warming.  While governments have spent billions of dollars to study climate change and ways to counteract it, scientists say there are inexpensive, low-tech ways people can keep cool - and they can be found at the local food market.

Vegetables, including celery and cucumbers, are 90 percent water.  And fruits such as apples and watermelon, where available, are not only tasty but hydrating. In fact, food scientists call them 'a wrapper for water,' and encourage people to eat lots of them.

What isn’t good for you, believe it or not, are ice-cold beverages, according to biochemist Shirley Corriher, who studies nutrition. She says cold drinks will only make you hotter, because your body has to expend energy to bring the liquid to a warmer, more useable temperature.

Corriher notes there’s a biological reason why mothers hold babies close while they nurse them.

“If the baby was fed ice-cold milk, it could die of malnutrition because it took so much out of its body to bring that cold liquid up to body temperatures," said Corriher.

Tea and dry wine contain tannin, a naturally occurring substance which has been shown to have heart healthy benefits.

Nutritionist Sara Risch says tannins can also cool you off.

“It causes a precipitation and kind of a drying out," said Risch. "And that actually from what we can speculate, it helps so that the cells will want to absorb more water.  And that’s what we are trying to do is to make sure that we do in fact stay hydrated.”

Finally, there are chili peppers and other hot spices.    

“You might be thinking, ‘Wait a minute.  These are foods that make you perspire. What’s that going to do?  They are really hot, and you really feel like you are burning. Why in the world would you want to eat those?’ Well that perspiration is actually good for you. It comes to the surface of the skin and you get evaporative cooling," said Risch.

In addition to chilies, Risch says some good hot spices for cooling you down include ginger and peppermint.

Sara Risch and Shirley Corriher discussed cool foods for hot weather at the American Chemical Society meeting this week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid