16 Ways to Beat the Heat – Summer is Here
One of the most obvious and best weapons against heat. Window units are inexpensive and widely available, plus there are many new free standing units that simply plug in. These free standing units are on wheels so they can be moved from one room to another, helping you bring cool air to the areas in your home (or office) where you need it most.
Air conditioners also dehumidify the air, and humidity is another major problem if you are trying to 'beat the heat', and prevent sun or heat stroke.
If you do not have an air conditioner, a dehumidifier can help keep you cool, as well as fans. There are some new very powerful fans available that can be very effective in keeping you cool.
AVOID DIRECT SUN
Use window shades, especially in the late morning and early afternoon (10:00AM to 4:00PM). Mid day sun can increase the heat in your home, and this retained heat may result in a warmer home in the evening.
KEEP YOUR BED TO YOURSELF
Sleeping with a spouse, child, or even a pet, will increase the temperature in your bed. Sleeping alone will keep you cooler. Choose a lighter blanket, or simply use a bed sheet, made of cotton, or if you are using a comforter, choose a comforter made of cotton and wool.
NATURAL FIBRES FOR YOUR BEDROOM
* Cotton, Wool, Natural Fibres - Mattress Toppers, Comforters, and Pillows
Choose bedding materials that are made of cotton and wool. Wool is famous for its temperature stabilizing effects, the result of the natural 'moisture wicking' quality of wool, which helps stabilize, and even lower your body temperature. Wool naturally warms you up in winter, and cools you down in summer, like no other natural fibre. Natura makes wonderful mattress toppers, comforters, and pillows that have a layer of wool, keeping you cool in summer (and warm in winter). Natura Beds, one of the finest in the industry, have a natural wool topper which also acts as a natural fire retardant, so if you sleep on a Natura bed, you aren't sleeping on chemical fire retardants, with the added benefit of a cooler sleeping environment on hot days. Always choose cotton sheets, as cotton works with wool to help absorb perspiration.
WEAR COTTON OR BREATHABLE FABRICS: CHOOSE LIGHT COLORS
Like the wool and cotton on Natura beds and bedding products (pillows, comforters, mattress toppers), cotton helps absorb perspiration, keeping you drier, and increasing your comfort level.
* Light colours help 'reflect' heat, so don't wear dark colors or black when it's hot.
SHOWERS AND BATHS - ADD MINERAL SALTS TO THE BATH WATER
Cool showers and baths can be very effective in helping to avoid heat or sun stroke. Adding Epsom or other mineral salts can add even more benefits, helping the body to absorb minerals that are lost through perspiration. Aviva recommends 'Miracle Mineral Spa', which combines magnesium sulfate with 84 trace minerals, to help replace lost minerals due to perspiration, and also to increase the levels of vital minerals and magnesium in the body.
Running cool water over the wrists is a technique that helps many feel cooler, and if a cool bath or shower isn't possible, you can immerse your feet in a cool foot bath. There are some wonderful electric foot bath products that can help by adding massage. Just don't turn on the heat if that is a feature of your electric foot bath product.
I recommend using a shower or bath filter, to filter out the chlorine from your shower or bath water. You absorb more chlorine through the pores of your skin from a five minute shower than you do from drinking eight glasses of chlorinated water. Many people take care to filter their drinking water, but they then bathe in chlorinated water. Chlorine has been shown to increase the risk of many diseases, including cancer. Quality dechlorinating shower and bath products are manufactured by Rainshow’r.
DON'T OVERDO EXERCISE
Fitness, and exercise is important, and most will avoid exercise when the temperature rises. It is important to exercise, even when it's hot, but try to exercise in a cool environment, with either air conditioning or cooling fans, and continue to drink cool fluids, preferably with electrolyte and vitamins added to the water.
* A cool shower is very important after exercise, to help bring your temperature down, even if it isn't a super hot day.
* If you are going to have to do some type of outdoor activity that involves exercise, try to schedule it for later in the day, or in the early evening, when it will naturally cool down.
Swimming is of the best exercises you can do if the temperature is high, as swimming not only exercises just about every muscle in the body, it also keeps you cool. Try to find a swimming pool that uses salt, and less (or no) chlorine.
STAY IN THE SHADE, WITH SOME LEMONADE
Obviously, it's best to stay in the shade, and avoid the direct sun on hot days.
WEAR A SOMBRERO
The sun directly heating your head can quickly result in a rise in body temperature.
Choose a wide brimmed hat whenever you are in the sun. If you're bald, this is especially important, not only to keep you cool, but also to avoid sunburn.
Many companies market hats, vests, etc., designed to keep you cool. There are some products that contain gels that can be put in the refrigerator, which retain cool temperatures. Other products are designed to be held under cool running water, so you can place the cool, wet material (often a bandana) around your neck or head, to keep cool.
Many find that applying cool cloths to the neck, face, arms, and the head help increase the comfort level and minimize the effects of super hot days. Remember to choose light colored clothing.
DRINKING COOL WATER, WITH ADDED ELECTROLYTES
Choose cool, not cold water, and stay away from ice, which can cause stress and shock to a body that is over heated. Sip cool water, or drink small amounts every 15 to 30 minutes. Adding lemon or lime juice to cool water is also a great idea, as lemon and lime juice provide vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Try to drink lemon or lime juice with no sugar, or add a natural sugar substitute, like Stevia, Health-e Sweet, Xylitol or Erythritol.
* Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, as both can affect the body's ability to lower temperature. This means NO to almost all carbonated beverages, as the vast majority have caffeine added. Also, no to your favorite Iced Latte (loaded with caffeine, and remember, you want to avoid iced or very cold drinks)
* You can also make cool herbal teas, preferably ones that do not contain caffeine. Teas made from green tea are OK, as there is naturally occurring L-Theanine, which acts to counteract the effects of caffeine in green tea. Green teas made from Matcha, or White tea, have the highest levels of antioxidants, so you will not only beat the heat, but improve your health at the same time.
EAT LIGHT MEALS - STABILIZE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR WITH FIBRE / WHOLE GRAINS
Stable blood sugar is important, especially for the elderly, but for anyone trying to be comfortable in extreme heat.
* High blood sugar can contribute to heat or sun stroke, so combine high fibre foods and complex carbohydrates, with regular cool drinks. While this is vital for anyone exposed to high temperatures, the elderly are even more at risk. Combining blood sugar stabilizing high fibre foods with electrolyte replacement products, and heeding the advice provided here, the risk of heat stroke should be greatly diminished.
* Avoid heavy meals, and try to add complex carbohydrates or whole grains to the diet, which helps to stabilize blood sugar, and keeps you on a more even keel.
* A great product to add to your cool drink is PanaChia seeds. PanaChia is the richest natural source of fibre and Omega 3, with tremendous blood sugar balancing properties. Plus, it is high in complete protein, many important minerals, and antioxidants. Stir three or four tablespoons of PanaChia seeds into a glass of water, add some lemon and/or lime juice, and enjoy. You will not be hungry for hours, and your energy levels will improve.
* Smaller, lighter meals every few hours are preferable to larger meals. You can munch on nuts and seeds for great nutrition and to help normalize your blood sugar, while providing protein, minerals, and healthy fats, all key ingredients to a healthy diet. Keep the spices to a minimum, as some spices, especially hot spices, can increase the effect of heat on a hot day.
* Digestion is one of the most demanding of all our natural body processes. This is why when you are exposed to excess heat that you don't want to devote all your extra energy to digesting food. This is another reason why it is important to eat small, light meals. But eating IS important, as food (and electrolyte drinks) helps replenish the minerals (electrolytes) lost through sweat and higher consumption of water.
NEVER LEAVE THE ELDERLY, CHILDREN OR PETS UNATTENDED IN A CAR
While this is probably common knowledge, it never hurts to emphasize the obvious. Cars can get incredibly hot very quickly due to the lack of circulation in the vehicle. To keep a vehicle from getting too hot, you can purchase a small fan that attaches to the car window and plugs into your cigarette lighter. The small car window fan can make a tremendous difference on hot days. There are also silver/foil reflectors that can be placed in the front and/or rear windows, and small shades for the side windows, to reflect the hot rays of the sun, and soften the shock of intense heat that can accompany entering your vehicle in hot summer months. Combining the car window fan with the window reflectors can lower the internal vehicle temperature significantly,
MORE ON WHAT TO DRINK
My first recommendation is to drink plain, cool water, with added electrolytes, either concentrated electrolyte products like Concentrace (amazing ionic mineral product), or the powdered or liquid products (Endurlyte, eLoad) designed to replace valuable minerals lost through perspiration.
The human body uses minerals to help regulate a wide variety of functions that are all controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Our body is always trying to achieve 'homeostasis', and minerals are used in this process. An imbalance or lack of important minerals, including calcium and magnesium, sodium, and potassium, can cause problems with heart rate, digestion, respiration rate, salivation, perspiration, diameter of the pupils, and micturition (urination).
Drinks that are high in sugar can adversely affect blood sugar, causing the classic high, followed by the crash when the blood sugar drops. Even energy levels are vital when you are exposed to extreme heat. Choose products that are low in sugar. Fruit juices are often as high (or higher) in sugar as carbonated soft drinks, so if you choose to drink fruit juices, dilute them with 4 to 5 parts water.
To keep hydrated, drink small amounts of water often, with electrolytes, lemon, or lime juice. If you don't have an electrolyte product like Eload, ElectroMix, or Endurlyte, or add ½ teaspoon per litre of water of mineral salt, like Himalayan Crystal Salt, which contain 84 naturally occurring minerals. Don't drink large quantities of fluids quickly, as the body needs time to gradually absorb the water.
RECOMMENDED ELECTROLYTE REPLACEMENT PRODUCTS
ENDURLYTE, BY GENESTRA, is a Vitamin/Mineral Electrolyte supplement that provides the body not only with valuable minerals that are lost when we sweat, but also has some synergistic vitamins. Adding this to water and drinking once or twice a day can be very important in keeping the important electrolyte balance in the body.
ELOAD, is a similar mineral electrolyte product, that can be added to water, available in packets, or in a large container.
CONCENTRACE, a concentrated Ionic Mineral product. Just adding a few drops to drinking water is a great way to replace minerals lost through sweat and excess water consumption.
ElectroMIX - ElectroMix contains nutritionally balanced essential electrolytes, including Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, and Chromium. With ElectroMix, mix one packet into your water bottle. It tastes great (lemon/lime) and each box contains 36 packets.
These products are more natural, less expensive, and superior to the commercial colored liquid products on the market.
HIMALAYAN CRYSTAL SALT. This is a salt mined from the Himalayan Mountains. Considered the healthiest of all salt products, Himalayan salt contains 84 naturally occurring minerals, and has a naturally sweeter taste than standard salt. Table salt does not naturally occur in nature. Table salt is chemically made by combining Sodium and Chlorine, with none of the natural minerals that accompany salts that occur in nature. Many health professionals feel that the health problems associated with excess salt consumption are the result of consuming salt (sodium chloride) without the normally occurring trace minerals that are part of a natural salt.
ELECTROLYTE STAMINA TABLETS: An easy way to replenish electrolytes lost through perspiration is by taking Electrolyte Stamina Tablets, by Concentrace. These tablets contain all the necessary electrolytes, so if you choose this product, you need only to drink plain water. An important advantage of this approach, is you will consume less sugar, with even higher levels of important electrolyte minerals.
POTASSIUM AND OSTEOPOROSIS: As electrolyte replacement (and other mineral) products contain high levels of potassium, an added benefit is that high levels of potassium help the body retain calcium. This calcium-sparing action of potassium has been shown to reverse bone loss (and increase bone mineral density), as high sodium and protein levels (with levels potassium levels) result in greater urinary excretion (loss) of calcium. In summary, drinking electrolyte replenishing drinks may not only be good for you when it is hot, they may also protect you from bone loss and fractures.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM HEAT STROKE, UNDER STRENUOUS OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
HEAT STROKE CAN BE CAUSED BY LACK OF BODY WATER
If your work (or sport) results in intense activity, or if you know you are going to be exposed to high temperatures and strenuous exercise, it is a good idea to begin drinking water about two hours before you begin the physical activity, and continue drinking during the activity.
* The best treatment for heat stroke is a gradual re-hydration, slowly drinking cool water, preferably with electrolytes added.
* Stay indoors when possible.
* Use clothing that is lightweight, light in color, and loose fitting, and always wear a hat. If you are going to be sitting in an unprotected area, use an umbrella if possible as a sun shield.
* Choose a natural sunscreen, with a high (SPF30 or higher) Sun Protection Factor.
* Remember that 10:00AM to 3:00PM (4:00 in some areas) are the hottest times of the day, so try to limit your activity during those times, or reschedule to a later time or the evening if possible, when the outside temperature is high.
* If you feel dizzy, light headed, or weak, stop and take a slow, relaxed breath, and sit down. This can keep you from fainting. Slowly sip cool water, preferably with added minerals (electrolytes).
Health Disclaimer. Copyright ©2007. Nathan Zassman is a trained nutrition practitioner and the owner of Aviva Natural Health Solutions.