Ask Dr. Nandi: These foods can help regulate your body's temperature during extreme heat

Posted at 3:01 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 17:56:14-04

(WXYZ) — Now that the extreme heat has arrived, are you staying cool and hydrated? Besides drinking plenty of water, there are foods that help regulate your body’s temperature. So exactly what are they and is there anything we need to avoid?

Question: What foods hydrate us?

You may find this hard to believe but spicy foods like jalapeno peppers can help cool you down! Yes, peppers will first heat your insides up because they contain a chemical call capsaicin. But then your body starts sweating in order to cool itself off. Other foods I highly recommend are watermelon and spinach. Both contain about 91 percent water and they’re also packed with nutrients. Watermelon, in particular, is a must-have at my house as both my sons absolutely love it. I also like it because it contains the antioxidant lycopene, which can help protect cells from the damaging effects of the sun.

Question: What foods should we avoid?

Right now is not a good time to be BBQing hot dogs and hamburgers. Meat and blazing hot temperatures are not a match made in heaven. And that’s because meat is high in protein. And protein requires more effect in order to digest it, which then creates more body heat. Also, you may want to pass on icy drinks, slushies, and frozen treats. I know they sound like a great way to cool off but your body will over-compensate and raise your core temperature. Because it wants to warm you back up. And this can leave you actually feeling hotter. Lastly, please skip the tropical fruit mango as well as alcohol. They’re both diuretics which mean you’ll lose more fluids from your body.

Question: What about medications, do we need to be mindful of drugs?

Yes, and that’s exactly what I’ve been discussing with many of my patients because certain medications can actually increase your risk of dehydration. So please be aware if you’re taking antihistamines, blood pressure medicines, laxatives or diuretics otherwise known as “water pills”. These work to remove salt and water from your body when you urinate. So if you’re taking any of these meds, please be sure you’re taking extra steps to stay hydrated and out of the heat.


On the next all-new Dr. Nandi show, Is Technology Killing Us? Dr. Nandi, MD investigates how cell phones are affecting the lives of children and adults. Watch to learn how to safeguard your family with Frank Clegg, former CEO of Microsoft Canada, and world-renowned experts from the Environmental Health Trust. Tune in this Sunday, July 21st at 5 p.m.