Just like taking a dip in a chilly pool cools the outside of your body, eating certain foods can help combat steamy weather from the inside.
The best foods to beat the heat are fruits and vegetables made up largely of water. That leaves you with lots of produce to choose from, among them watermelon, melons and broccoli. But you don't have to stop there.
It's not coincidence that in countries around the equator spicy foods are the norm. They get you sweating, which actually lowers your body temperature. So don't shy away from hot peppers, ginger or even horseradish when you need some relief from the heat.
What should you avoid? Ice cream, believe it or not. It seems refreshing, and it is tasty, but your body has to work harder to process the ice-cold treat and that creates heat within.
A frosty mug of beer might also seem like a good way to cool off, but remember that alcohol dehydrates a body. Go easy on the booze or make sure you're drinking plenty of water, too.
The accompanying recipes, from refreshing smoothies to gazpacho and a gingery salad dressing, will come to your aid on a super-swelter day. And we've got plenty of those, don't we?
This thirst-quenching fruit is about 90 percent water so it helps to replenish what you're losing because of heat. There's a nutritional boost, too, with vitamins A and C in the pink flesh, plus some antioxidants. Eat ice-cold wedges for immediate relief or mix it into salads or drinks.
Fast: Crush chunks into a tall glass; add ice-cold soda water and some sweetener if you'd like.
Flashy: Watermelon Waldorf Salad
It may be counterintuitive, but spicy ingredients like fresh ginger, along with hot peppers and horseradish, actually help lower body temperatures by forcing us to sweat. (Though who needs help with that as July yawns into August?) Ginger is also a source of potassium and has long been used to help relieve tummy ailments. In the middle of a sweltering summer, consider it to flavor drinks and add to stir-fries loaded with other watery veggies for a cooling effect.
Fast: Stir into hot tea with lemon and honey.
Flashy: Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing
Those Doublemint Twins were on to something when they touted the refreshingly icy nature of mint, be it in gum or mojitos. There are traces of a few vitamins in fresh mint leaves, but it's really the cooling property as it hits your tongue that offers the relief.
Fast: Muddle leaves into your iced tea.
Flashy: Mint-Honeydew Ice
There's a reason that the mango lassi is practically the national drink of India. The yogurt and mango smoothie is comforting refreshment when the subcontinent sizzles. Mangoes, which are plentiful this time of year in markets and on backyard trees, is another watery fruit. There's added benefit from the fruit's fiber, which slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream and keeps us satisfied longer.
Fast: Add diced fruit to plain yogurt and sprinkle with granola.
Flashy: Mango Lassi
Like watermelon, this salad staple is mostly water, your best ally in the fight again heat. Its natural properties help reduce swelling and bloating, which can occur in hot weather. Besides helping internally, slices of ice-cold cucumber on the eye can reduce puffiness. It's also super low in calories so cukes are a dieter's good buddy.
Fast: Toss slices into ice water for that spa-day effect.
Flashy: Silky Gazpacho