Foods to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

07/01/2014 12:53 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2014

As the summer sun beats down, it can seem impossible to stay cool. You can crank up the air-conditioning or sip on a cold beverage, but there are a few tricks to cooling down and beating the heat that you may not know -- and they start with the foods that you eat.

Foods high in water content are great at hydrating you and cooling you down. Foods like lettuce, citrus, and other summer fruits and vegetables hydrate us and lower our body temperature to stay cool. The high water content can thin the blood and assist your body in releasing heat.

And when it comes to a hot or iced coffee, which should you choose? Turns out that there are nerves on our tongues that have special molecules called receptors. When you drink something hot, these receptors signal the brain that it's hot, which then causes us to sweat and cool ourselves down.

These receptors also respond to chili peppers and spicy foods. It's not a coincidence that spicy cuisine is found in hot and tropical regions of the world. These chili peppers activate sweating, thus lowering our body temperature and cooling us down.

  • 1 Cucumbers
  • Perfect for dipping in hummus or sliced on salads, this refreshing vegetable is great for hydration. Try making a chilled cucumber soup by blending cucumbers, yogurt, and ice to make an elegant and easy appetizer that will refresh and hydrate your guests. Photo Credit: Stockbyte_thinkstock Click Here to see More Foods to Beat the Heat
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Red and green tomatoes are high in water and during the summer months they are at their peak of ripeness and perfection. Slice them and serve them with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt over a bed of greens or eggs for breakfast. Photo Credit: Wavebreak-Media_thinkstock
  • 3 Spicy Foods
  • It's not a coincidence that many people in hot and tropical regions of the world eat spicy food. Foods like ginger, red chili, and cayenne pepper initially warm you up, but actually help cool you down. Try adding a pinch of red chili flakes to a fish or chicken dish. Photo Credit: iStock_thinkstock Click Here to see More Foods to Beat the Heat
  • 4 Radishes
  • These little root vegetables add a juicy and spicy bite to any summer salad. They also add a healthy crunch and bright color to your menu. Photo Credit: iStock_thinkstock
  • 5 Watermelon
  • We know that watermelon is full of water, hence the name, but this melon is also high in antioxidants. Make a refreshing watermelon and feta salad or eat it by the slice. Click Here to see More Foods to Beat the Heat Photo Credit: iStock_thinkstock

-- Emily Jacobs, The Daily Meal

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