Hot Weather, Cool Eats
Food that helps seniors beat the heat
By Laura MacDougall
As the summer continues with its record-breaking heat, we consider options to stay cool. Sure there is A/C and swimming pools, but could there be a better, tastier way to beat the heat?
In Southern India and Thailand, the summer days can easily be over 100F. In these cultures, you find a lot of hot tea and spicy foods. Could this keep you cool? Yes! Scientific research has found that receptors on the tongue that sense hot temperatures (and hot spice) can help keep you cool by sending a signal to your brain that turns on your natural air conditioning, i.e. sweating. Mind you, there is the other side of the argument that says you will never sweat enough to offset the hot beverage......but can thousands of Indians be wrong? I think not.
OK, so tea is not your thing.... what else can you do? Drink!!! Fluids are so important when we are hot and active. Water is best, but citrus can help you stay cool too. Make a homemade lemon and honey mocktail for a little boost in energy. If it is after five, a cocktail with honey, lemon and either bourbon, vodka or gin could be yummy.... but I didn't tell you that.
For meals, indulge in high water content fruits and vegetables - melons, lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, asparagus and corn on the cob among others. These foods can actually help you regulate heat and they are at their peak of flavor this time of year.
If you are daring, try some seaweed salad at the sushi bar, along with a cucumber roll and wasabi - yes horseradish can help you cool off too. Other cooling spices include peppermint, marjoram, and cilantro, which can help detox your system after those cocktails mentioned above.
Any food you do not have to cook is a great choice for summer -think cole slaw with blueberries, salads and cold soups. Watermelon, kalamata olives and feta make a great salad or salsa for fish. A cool cucumber salad with mint, dill or thyme and a little yogurt is a great way to start a meal or cool off a spicier dish. Get creative with your green salads - make a meal with a lean protein, lot's of veggies and light vinaigrette. Or add melon and prosciutto to your salad with a little shredded mint and Dijon vinaigrette.
Try a green gazpacho: Blend 3 peeled and seeded cucumbers, 1/2 white onion, 2 cups green grapes, 3 cup white bread soaked in water, a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar 2 garlic cloves, and 2 teaspoons toasted almonds. Chill at least 30 mins before serving.
At your next BBQ, wrap an ear of corn with cilantro, cayenne and a touch of butter and drop on the grill for 8-10 minutes. Delicious and easy!
Is your favorite summer food ice cream and beer? Though the cold initially will help cool you off, the long-term effect is to warm you up. So skip the mocha chip and go for a melon cooler instead!
Happy summer - Eat cool!
Laura MacDougall, Owner
Published July 25, 2012