Ice cream won’t do the trick, but a leafy garnish placed on some desserts can work wonders.
A big scoop of ice cream may sound appealing when you’re battling summer’s scorching temperatures, but—surprise!—it’s only a fleeting fix that’ll leave you hotter than before. Once your body starts digesting and storing those calories, your temperature will rise. However, there are eats out there that can actually help you beat the heat by triggering cool-off nerves, causing you to sweat, providing essential fluids and more. From juicy fruits that hydrate to spicy dishes that kickstart your body’s natural cooling system, discover five foods that’ll (almost) render your A/C optional.
By triggering the cold-sensitive nerves in your mouth, mint works wonders to cool you off—especially when it’s eaten fresh, and it doubles as a digestive aid. Tucked into a chilled salmon salad with snap peas and orange, or paired with ribbons of cucumber and peanut-crusted chicken, it’ll soothe your senses with each and every bite.
In hot-climate countries such as India and Thailand, spicy foods are a mainstay. Why? Because one of the chemicals found in them, capsaicin, triggers a reaction in your body that makes you sweat, a process that helps your body regulate its temperature. See for yourself by trying a spicy noodle dish that includes cooling mint to counteract the serrano chiles, or a taco filled with chipotle-flavored shrimp.
It’s a well-known fact that veggies are good for you, but in the dog days of summer, certain types are even better than others. Water-rich vegetables like cucumbers, radishes and leafy greens, are a sneaky source of hydration, a crucial thing for your body since you can’t cool off by sweating unless you are properly hydrated. Layered onto a creamy white bean sandwich or tossed with cold sesame noodles, they’ll also add flavor, crunch and color to your meal.
Naturally sweet and refreshing, fruit is a welcome—and easy—swap for sugar-laden frozen treats when temps run high. The key to cooling off is choosing juicy fruits that have a high water content (for hydration), such as apples, melon and watermelon. And don’t just stop at snacking on them—make sure to get your fill by incorporating them into meals, with a salty-sweet watermelon and feta salad and chicken with crisp apple-celery salad.