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Published November 5th 2012
Keep healthy and cool this summer
"In the summertime when the weather is hot, You can stretch right up and touch the sky"
Words made famous years ago by Mungo Jerry and an anthem for the hot days. But even though we all like it hot, too much heat is also not a good thing. Come the beautiful summer day, one has to take precaution against the harsh Aussie sun. Too much time in the sun can lead to a number of ailments such as dehydration, which occurs when you lose more fluids than you are taking in, heat exhaustion, which is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures, heat stroke, which occurs when the body cannot regulate its own temperature and so on.
Here are some tips to prevent heat related ailments so you can still enjoy that perfect summer sun while staying healthy:
1). Drink plenty of water You are probably reading this and thinking - Like I didn't know that. But the importance of drinking water during the hot days can not be stressed enough. Always have a bottle of water handy and keep hydrating every 20 minutes even if you don't feel thirsty. Drinking a glass of water before you leave the house also helps you keep cooler for longer. And don't try to substitute water for carbonated drinks or alcohol. These only tend to dehydrate you.
2). Lemon Water Lemon contains Vitamin C which influences the part of the brain and nerves that influence the body's heat-regulating centres. Adding mint leaves will further help in cooling the body. And remember Schweppes Lemonade is not an option.
3). Buttermilk Few people realise that buttermilk is great to reduce body heat. This remedy has been used for centuries in many dessert countries. If you do not like the taste of buttermilk, try adding some honey to it.
4). Coconut Coconut Water is another drink that helps the body fight the heat. It is an isotonic beverage which carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. And luckily enough, coconut water is freely available in Australia at your local Wollies or even at any Asian Supermarket. One can also use coconut oil as a massage oil. Ayurveda considers coconut oil a fantastic oil to maintain body temperature.
5). Wear loose fitting clothes and large hats
Both of these will help you avoid getting heat strokes and other sun related ailments. Try to wear materials like Cotton or Linen that keep your body cool. Also wearing open shoes like sandals or rubber thongs rather than closed shoes allows the feet to loose body heat and keep the body cool.
6). Sunscreen Don't forget your sunscreen with SPF 15 or more. Remember to Slip Slop Slap. We are lucky to have a huge variety of Sunscreen brands here in Australia with the SPF that go up to 50. It is recommended to apply sunscreen every two hours. And if you are planning to go into the water, make sure you have applied water proof sunscreen.
7). Avoid spicy food Try and avoid spicy or sour foods. These only increase your body temperature. Also try to refrain from eating food that contains large amounts of vinegar.
8). Electrolyte Balance
Excessive sweating can lead to loss of water from the body and this inturn can cause an Electrolyte Imbalance.To prevent this from happening, add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and this will replace electrolytes and minerals that have been taken out of the body. Adding a pinch of salt and a tea spoon of sugar in a glass of water will also help restore electrolyte balance in the body. Alternatively, electrolyte substitute can be taken in gel, tablet, powder pack or strip form. Energy drinks such as Gatorade can also help restore electrolyte balance. But remember that these energy drinks are loaded with sugar.
9). Potassium Rich food
Try and consume potassium rich food such as bananas and raisins. Potassium helps regulate the amount of fluid in the body and is important for the heart, kidneys, muscles and nerves to function properly.
10). Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are extremely good at reducing body heat. Try consuming a little amount of poppy seeds before you go to sleep if you know you are going to have prolonged exposure in the sun, the following day. A double bonus since Poppy Seeds are also known to help cure insomnia.