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Your body is designed to self-regulate its temperature. Your skin, sweat glands, and blood vessels are part of an intricate heating and cooling system that constantly adjusts to its internal and external environments. But in extreme weather, this thermoregulation system may need a boost. The following strategies can help.

  1. Eat right. Metabolizing food generates heat. The more you eat, the more heat. So, keep cooler by consuming smaller portions when temperatures rise. Limit calorie-dense foods, such as ice cream (we know — just keep it to a single scoop), which require extra ­effort to digest. Instead, reach for ­energy-efficient digestibles containing plenty of water, such as veggies and fruits.
  2. Stay hydrated. Sip water throughout the day — don’t wait until you’re thirsty, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Limit ­caffeine, which can raise body temps. And avoid energy drinks that contain “much more caffeine than standard servings of coffee, tea, or soft drinks,” the CDC notes. Finally, watch the booze: ­Alcohol dehydrates and also triggers blood vessels to expand and warm the skin.
  3. Bring on the sweat. It may seem counterintuitive, but foods and beverages that warm the body, such as hot tea or spicy fare, can actually boost thermoregulation on a hot day by causing you to sweat — provided you’re in a dry locale where your sweat can evaporate. Opt for minimal clothing to allow the sweat to evaporate more quickly.
  4. Soothe your skin. Your skin is a crucial element of your thermoregulation system, so you need to be strategic with cooling and warming tactics. For immediate heat relief, soothe skin by misting it with cool water or applying an aloe vera compress. You can also place your feet in a cold foot bath while you relax; add a few drops of peppermint ­essential oil for an added cooling effect.
  5. If you take a shower or bath before bed to help with sleep, it’s best to opt for warm rather than cool water. Mimicking the sweat mechanism, warm water evaporates once you emerge from the shower or bath, cooling the blood vessels near your skin. Do this about an hour before hitting the hay: It takes time for the cooling to occur.

This was excerpted from “14 Tips to Stay Cool During the Summer” which was published in Experience Life.

Alexandra Smith, MA, LPCC

Alexandra Smith, MA, LPCC, is a licensed professional clinical counselor in Minneapolis and an Experience Life contributing editor.

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  1. Staying cool during heat waves is not just about comfort, it’s crucial for our mental well-being too. Hydration and proper diet can help maintain our mood and cognitive function. So, let’s remember to stay hydrated, eat right, and keep cool for a healthy mind and body. Take care!

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