Health August 13, 2023 | 9:14 am

Should we change our diet during heat waves?

Staying hydrated is essential to maintain good oral health. EFE/Salas

Before the frequent heat waves and high summer temperatures, the professor of the Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics of the online university of La Rioja UNIR, Carmen González Vázquez, talks about the food we should carry out to cope with the summer season.

Before offering more specific recommendations, the expert recalls the importance of hydration.

Although we should always drink water, it is even more necessary in summer and during high temperatures.

Goodbye, “miracle diets.”

The professional recalls that vacations are when most people want to be slim and put on their swimsuits “comfortably.” It is for this reason that “miracle diets” proliferate.

This type of diet, known for restricting the daily energy intake (in kilocalories), is always harmful to our health, especially with high temperatures.

The nutritionist warns that when it is very hot, our body needs to be well-nourished and hydrated.

High temperatures affect our body, causing blood vessels to dilate, increase sweating, stress, and fatigue… If we go on a “miracle diet,” we can have even more negative consequences on our body, such as fluid retention, hypoglycemia, lipothymia, or low blood pressure, among others.

In the face of heat waves, it is essential to be well-hydrated. EFE/Jorge Zapata

Lack of appetite

Another of the consequences of heat waves on food is the lack of appetite.

Some people do not feel like eating so often during high temperatures, so the nutrition professional gives us some tips to cope with this.

Carmen González indicates that the best thing to do in these cases is to eat small, nutritious, moisturizing meals throughout the day.

We can have six lighter ones if we usually eat three meals and lose appetite in summer.

The expert recalls that sometimes the lack of appetite also generates a lack of thirst sensation, which causes more tiredness. To avoid falling into this loop, we should eat small meals and stay hydrated by drinking enough water.

Eating hot or cold?

Looking good in a bathing suit makes it easy to fall into one of the “miracle diets.” EFE/ Jorge ZapataDespite what we may think, taking cold dishes or meals is not essential to refresh the body.

The professor explains that our body is usually at a temperature of between 36.5 and 37 degrees in normal conditions and that the food that enters our body has to be tempered.

For this reason, the colder the food we choose to eat, the more energy our body will require to heat it.

“All the energy we generate in tempering an ice cream, for example, will generate even more heat sensation. That feeling of being refreshed because we have a slushy, after a while is not so pleasant because more internal heat is generated,” stresses Carmen González.

Main risks

As well as recommendations, the UNIR professor also warns us about the principal risks of not eating well during heat waves.

First, due to the lack of appetite, we can fall into disordering our eating habits, either by the loss of routine, variable schedules … The nutritionist explains that one of the main consequences of this disorder can be “snacking” between meals.

Snacking between meals should be controlled, as we can lose the reference of a healthy eating pattern and eat ultra-processed foods full of sugars more frequently.

She also warns that caloric intake should not vary too much from winter to summer. In other words, we can change our recipes, gastronomically speaking, but we should not lower our energy intake too much.

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Paul Tierney
August 13, 2023 9:24 am

The article is general information, lacks suggestions as to what foods to eat. Eating vegetables and fruits with good water content are recommended. Tomatoes, melons, mangos, celery, and lettuce and similar are advised.