Temperatures are increasing across the continent, and some areas have already experienced mid-summer heat. If you’ve got heart disease, it could put you at a higher risk of stroke. But do you know the best ways to cool down?
Warm temperatures put stress on everybody’s heart. When temperatures climb, the heart has to beat faster and work harder to keep you cool. For people with heart disease, higher temperatures can boost the risk of a significant cardiovascular event.
But what do you usually do to cool down? Have an ice cream or cold drink? Believe it or not, these methods are not the best and can actually end up increasing your temperature.
When you eat ice cream, for example, the cooldown is fleeting. Its high-fat content means your body must work hard to digest it, ultimately boosting body temperature in the long term.
Instead, eating spicy food and reaching for a hot drink can help you maintain cooler temperatures. How? Spicy foods make you sweat without raising body temperature. Sweat is your body’s natural cooling system.
There is also research showing that spicy pepper consumption is associated with a significantly lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
Hot drinks such as coffee and tea can also help you cool down in the heat by inducing sweat, leading to a cooling effect that outweighs and outlasts cold beverages.
When you’re out and about and looking for some respite from the hot sun, seek the shade of trees instead of buildings or umbrellas. Due to a process called transpiration, leaves give off water vapor that offers a cooling effect. You don’t get that from buildings.
There’s also evidence to suggest that vitamin C can have an effect on heat acclimatization and may help prevent heat exhaustion.
Those are a few ways of staying cool in the summer you may not have thought of. Give them a try and remember to wear loose clothing and more light colors than dark. Drink plenty of water, and try to avoid direct sunlight during peak hours.
Keeping your temperature cool can help reduce the stress on your heart and potentially lower the risk for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events this summer.
Mohan Garikiparithi holds a degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade. During a three-year communications program in Germany, he developed an interest in German medicine (homeopathy) and other alternative systems of medicine. This article was originally published on Bel Marra Health.