How to survive the heat (without sleeping in your fridge)
BY JENNIFER REYNOLDS
Things are heating up and summer has only just begun. When it comes to beating the heat, focus on keeping your body cool rather than cooling the air around you. Here are 11 ways to keep the air conditioning costs down while remaining comfortable:
Smaller is better. Eat small meals more often so your body doesn’t have to work so hard to digest a large amount of food, leading to a rise in body temperature.
Just say no to steak. Avoid foods high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.
Go raw. Try uncooked meals, such as zucchini linguine, to avoid having to heat the kitchen. Also, eating cold foods such as yogurt, Popsicles, and refrigerated or frozen fruit will help keep your body cool.
Avoid alcohol. A cold beer sounds like a great way to cool off, but alcohol dehydrates your body — as do caffeinated drinks. Instead, try water infused with frozen fruit.
Give your feet a treat. Did you know cooling your feet will help your whole body feel cool? Keep a bottle of lotion in the refrigerator to massage into your feet after coming indoors. For added refreshment, try lotion with peppermint oil.
Get cold-blooded. Place a wet cloth in the freezer, then apply it to your neck or wrists — places where you can feel your pulse. This will cool the blood traveling through your body, lowering your temperature from the inside out.
Rock a bandana. If you’re going to spend time outside, roll a few ice cubes in a bandana and tie it around your neck.
Get a cool night’s sleep. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep when you’re hot. Place a frozen water bottle under your pillow and another under the sheet at your feet to heat-proof your bed.
Dim down. If you haven’t switched to energy-efficient light bulbs, now’s the time. “Old-fashioned” incandescent bulbs put off a great deal of heat, warming up the room and costing you more in electricity to cool it. In addition, dimming your room tricks your brain into thinking it’s cooler.
Close the blinds and curtains during the day. Blocking out the sun will keep your home cooler and cost less to keep cool.
Do nothing … for a little while. Yes, being active is part of a healthy lifestyle, but a little downtime here and there isn’t going to hurt. During the hottest hours of the day, give yourself permission to take a snooze, read a book or catch up on a favorite TV show.
Finally, keep in mind that some medications can increase the risk for heat-related illness. If this is a side effect of a medication you are taking, don’t stop taking it. Know the signs of heat-related illness (for more on that, see page 14), and take extra care to stay hydrated and cool.