Heat wave and food: drinks and meals to be preferred

We often have less appetite when it is very hot, but it is important to continue to eat meals, favoring foods that quench and refresh. Same thing for drinks.

[Mise à jour le 15 juin 2022 à 15h55] Temperatures are rising and exceed 30 degrees ? Here’s what to eat and drink when it’s (very) hot to avoid heatstroke and dehydration, and there are some misconceptions!

You have to drink more when it’s hot

Water losses due to heat are greater in summer and even more so during heat waves. It is therefore necessary to drink regularly, without waiting to be thirsty, between 1.5 and 2 L of water per day (maximum 3 L otherwise beware of hyponatremia). First people concerned: infants and the elderly. The latter who sometimes do not feel thirsty must force themselves to drink. If your child does not like water (it happens!), infuse fruit in it and exceptionally, allow him one or two glasses of fruit juice a day. Otherwise, offer him fun water bottles or glasses decorated with the image of his favorite heroes. It doesn’t matter, as long as it can encourage him to drink. To know : urine color is a good indicator of your hydration status. The darker they are, the worse the hydration. This is common and normal when the weather is hot, but in such cases be sure to increase your water consumption a little.

→ The right reflex: keep with you a bottle of water, both at home and in transport.

Drink cold but not too much

Very cold drinks quench thirst more quickly and therefore reduce the feeling of thirst more quickly

Even if cold water, even ice cold, gives an impression of freshness, that does not mean that the body is therefore more hydrated. In reality, it is even the opposite that happens: the organism must heat up this water which is too cold so as not to disturb its functioning and therefore provides energy that warms the whole body. It’s a bit the same principle as with a cold shower. This is counterproductive because the body tends to increase its body temperature because it tries by all means to maintain its temperature around 37°C. In addition, very cold drinks quench your thirst more quickly and therefore reduce the feeling of thirst more quickly, so in the end you drink less.

→ The right reflex: Alternate cold drinks (from the fridge) with drinks at room temperature.

Avoid coffee and tea

It is better to avoid coffee and tea in too large quantities because they are diuretics and therefore increase the amount of urine and therefore the elimination of water. Remember, during a heat wave, we try to improve hydration, not dehydration!

→ Good reflexes: think of herbal teas or lightly infused teas and drink them warm rather than hot. In this way, you will prevent your body from evacuating excess heat and therefore making you sweat, which will cause you to lose water…

Focus on cold dishes

Same thing, it is better to favor cold dishes so as not to unnecessarily work the body already tired of keeping you at the right temperature all day. It is certain that when you eat a raclette or a dish with sauce, caloric and salty, the body needs more energy to digest and therefore increases its body temperature. In addition, in summer, the body calls for “less fat”.

In favoring water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, you help your body stay well hydrated. Think about cold soups and gazpachos, which quench your thirst well because they are rich in tomatoes and cucumbers (waterlogged) and which provide vitamins and good nutrients. Among the meal ideas: salads, raw vegetables, raw fruits such as melon, watermelon…

→ The right reflex: avoid using the oven and hotplates as this raises the temperature in your kitchen and therefore the body temperature.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is a false friend. Not only does it not hydrate, but above all it dehydrates! It is therefore to be totally avoided in case of heat (even the small evening aperitif).

Rather ice cream sorbets

The ice being cold, the body will have to warm up and therefore produce heat

This is the good news: during a heat wave, you can afford to regularly crack on an ice cream. Ideally, still prefer sorbets, without added sugar or homemade, it’s even better. Not only are they richer in water, but they are also less caloric. As explained above, ice cream being cold, the body will have to warm up and therefore produce heat, so there is no question of eating exclusively ice cream!

Limit salt

It is important to avoid foods that are too salty when the thermometer climbs. Certainly they promote thirst and therefore hydration, but the accumulated salt retains water and therefore harms the hydration of the body.

→ The right reflex: deli meats, smoked fish but also crisps, aperitif cakes and dried fruit should be eliminated from your menus in hot weather.

Make sure to respect the cold chain

If you are not hyper vigilant, you risk food poisoning. More than ever when it’s hot (but in winter too!), remember to take an insulated bag before going to the supermarket and store your frozen foods and fresh products very quickly once you get home. Likewise, don’t overload your fridge and respect the expiry dates.

→ The right reflex: also rely on the color and smell of food before preparing it, a matter of common sense. Finally, do not leave perishable foods (meats, cold meats, butter, etc.) and prepared meals lying around outside.

What to drink when it’s hot? What to eat when it’s hot?
Water (alternate slightly cold and temperate water), homemade iced tea (sugar-free), lukewarm infusions without sugar, flavored waters… Vegetables rich in water (zucchini, carrot, cucumber, tomato, pepper and aubergine…), fruits rich in water (melon, watermelon, citrus fruits…), fresh fish (tuna, sardines, shellfish…) , white and lean meats (poultry…), sorbets or water ice cream…

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