Cukes are made up almost entirely of water, so when you eat one you it’s like taking a big sip. Also, cucumbers reduce swelling and bloating – a real plus if you are out in a swimsuit or doing a lot of walking. Tip: Use cucumber slices to relieve puffy, dry eyes from too much sun and chlorine.
It makes sense that mint helps you cool down, after all most mint flavored gum boasts the icy effect it has. The same goes for when you eat fresh mint; the spicy herb gives a burst of cooling freshness on your tongue. Try adding mint to iced tea for any frosty brew and add it to fruit salads, your favorite cocktails or use the oil to help cool hot skin naturally.
These little purple-crimson orbs are a great addition to your summer diet because they are loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. Radishes owe their cooling effect to their high water content, yet their distinctively spicy taste make them a jazzy addition to a leafy green salad.
For tangy refreshment you can’t beat fruit, the juicier the better. Peaches, plums, grapefruit and berries are just a few good choices so go ahead and enjoy them whole, sliced, or all mixed up in a colorful fruit salad. For a super-cold smoothie toss frozen fruit or berries into your favorite recipe.
As its name implies this larger than life fruit is 90 percent water, making it a great thirst quencher and nature’s perfect sports drink because it replenishes electrolytes that we lose when we sweat. You get a nice nutritional boost eating watermelon, too since its pink flesh contains vitamins C, A, and the antioxidant lycopene. For a twist on serving watermelon try grilling your slices for a uniquely succulent flavor.
Citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits are some of the most cooling fruits around. Grapefruits give you that pucker-tart yet sweet taste, but did you know they contain fat-blasting enzymes that make them great for dieters? Serve grapefruits icy cold or cut them up and add to a crisp arugula and fennel salad.
Tip: Eating something hot or spicy may seem counterintuitive when it is scorching hot outside, but adding searing hot chilies to a dish or having a hot cup of herbal tea will make you sweat a bit, which is nature’s way of cooling us down.
For advice on healthy eating, drinking and weight loss, check out my new book The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and author of the Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber as well as the bestselling F-Factor Diet. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook,follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.