Want to be cool? Eat your vegetables!

Top 5 vegetables to eat in the heat

For our non-Queensland readers: I am writing this in the middle of summer with temperatures well into the 30 degrees and an air humidity close to 80%. To say the weather is unpleasant is like saying Attila the Hun had anger issues.

Since introducing a siesta here in Australia is most likely not going to happen (and with the humidity being present 24/7, when would be the best time to have one?) we need different ways to stay cool at work, home and school. Surprisingly just drinking lots of water is not going to cut it.

Now, our bodies are geared up for heat. Our body’s sweat, which evaporates from the skin, helps us cool down. However, with a high humidity content which we have to endure here in Queensland, the sweat cannot evaporate and we remain hot and sticky. Our body has to work harder to stay cool, which makes us even sweat more. But why do we feel that drinking lots of water alone is not helping?

You see, sweat contains not only water, but also salts and minerals, (or electrolytes once they hit water) the most common ones being magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium and chloride. Knowing that these salts and minerals are crucial for our normal functioning, it is no wonder we can feel quite lethargic in a Queensland summer or during strenuous work.

Since just drinking more water, which doesn’t have enough minerals and salts in it to replenish the shortage, is not the solution, we have to look at other options. I’d like to steer clear of the sports drinks since I am a mediocre exerciser and not an athlete (far from it) for which these drinks are meant. I also don’t think the fluorescent colour is very enticing.

So the trick to hydration is to replenish your lost fluids with a substance that is close to that of what our body produces. One way to do this is to eat fluids, or find fruit and vegetables which not only have a very high water content but also contain adequate amounts of magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium and chloride, salts that help carry the water in which they are dissolved around the body.

So in order to stay hydrated in summer, here are some examples of vegetables with a high water content and the right balance of salts and minerals:

  1. Cucumber

Cucumber is your friend during the summer heat: With its 96 per cent water content and perfect mineral balance, a cucumber is able to hydrate you twice as much as water alone.

2. Celery

Consists just like cucumber of 96% of water, and 3 sticks of celery helps you replenish levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

  1. Red radishes.

These small little powerhouses not only add some punch to your salad, they also contain 95% water and contain plenty of anti-oxidants.

4.Tomatoes

Tomatoes with around 94% of water content is high on this list as well. And eating tomatoes also provides you with lycopene. Lycopene is THE phytochemical which is responsible for the many health benefits of tomatoes.

  1. Green Peppers.

All colours of the pepper-family contain over 90% water, but the green one is on top in terms of water content.

All these vegetables combined, with some protein, makes a perfect summer salad to keep you cool. And as a desert? Well, watermelon of course!  Watermelons are 92% per cent water, 8% minerals and 100% delicious!
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