Record high temps in Massachusetts and around the country have me thinking about ways to stay cool in environmentally friendly ways. I don't have central air conditioning in my home (a fact much bemoaned by my poor husband) so I'm not going to go on and on about turning the air conditioner temp up just a degree or two, or running the air conditioning only at certain hours, etc., etc. We've heard those things before and frankly, in this heat, people are going to run that air conditioner as hard as they can, I would too if I had one!
I found some great tips for keeping your body cool by eating. Yes, eating. There are actually cooling foods: any high water content food helps to keep you hydrated and a hydrated body runs more efficiently and therefore cooler. You probably knew that. But did you know that high water content and raw foods actually use less digestive "fire" and thus keep you cooler in that way too?
Foods like watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, berries, cucumber, celery, carrots, lettuce, green peppers, tomatoes, all citrus fruits, and processed foods like yogurt and ice cream contain a lot of water. Unlike cooked foods which need a lot of enzymes to be broken down and digested, raw, high water content foods contain their own enzymes. Less work digesting means more available energy for doing things like...say...regulating your core temperature. Less work digesting also means less heat being generated internally. Less work digesting also means more available quick energy so that you'll have energy even when the heat and humidity are oppressive.
There are "cooling" waters you can make too: herbs like mint added to water actually produce a cooling sensation. Adding lemon to water is so refreshing that it may also be perceived as cooling. Days like this are a great time to experiment with flavoring waters, using cookie cutters to make fun melon shapes, peeling grapes, and making your own popsicles with juice, an ice cube tray, and toothpicks.
Think shade, think lots of water, and think cool. Mother Nature will provide the rest.