Heat: what should you eat?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

That’s it, it’s summer ! The sun is shining, the outfits are light and the temperatures are rising.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

This year we noticed that even before the summer season was in full swing, the heat arrived early!

Heatwave, orange alert for some regions and red for others. Enough to wonder about the right actions to take to stay in great shape and not suffer from sluggishness despite everything.

Should you eat hot or cold? Drink tea or a cold beer? Focus only on salads and smoothies?

As a Dietitian Nutritionist, I decided to give you my advice on the right actions to take so that you can adapt your meals according to the heat of summer.

The primary objective is to avoid dehydration!

We do not only hydrate ourselves by drinking water, foods also contain water, some more than others, which you will need to promote as soon as the thermometer starts to rise.

Come on, here we go, I’ll tell you everything! This summer you will be in tune with your body’s needs and stay in great health.

What to promote

  • Drink water ! The recommendation is 1.5 liters of water/day, there is no point in drinking 3 or 4 liters of water/day. Be careful, drinking too much water can be dangerous for your health. Respect the amount of water indicated per day and instead get water from food.
  • The vegetables : they are rich in water, take advantage of it. During the summer we have a wide variety at our disposal. Consider eating tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini or radishes. You can cook them in salads, raw, pan-fried (early in the morning or in the evening), steamed, and even on the barbecue for some (zucchini, peppers or eggplants on the coals: it’s excellent!).
  • The fruits : treat yourself to a dessert or fruity snack. Watermelon, melon, grapefruit, orange, peach, strawberry, etc. Summer is clearly the season of colorful, delicious and sweet fruits. They are rich in water and vitamins, they will only do you good. Raw or in salad, in quarters or whole, enjoy. Nothing better to give yourself energy.
  • Drinks flavored by you If your appetite drops: don’t hesitate to try new recipes with lemon, raspberries, strawberries or any fruit/citrus that you fancy.
  • Eat “light”, in small quantities so as not to feel bloated and to accentuate the feeling of fatigue caused by extreme heat.

Reminder: nothing should be consumed “at will”, you must stay attentive to your feeling of hunger, which tells you when it is time to eat, and to your satiety, which will tell you when it is time to eat. stop eating.

What is best to avoid

  • Food too fatty, too salty : a meal that is too heavy will require more energy to digest it. As for salt, it will increase your feeling of thirst since one of its roles is to retain water in the body.
  • Sweet and very cold drinks which would force your body to have to regulate its temperature and therefore increase it to return to balance.
  • Avoid coffee and tea (at least in large quantities) because they are diuretics, that is to say they will accelerate the production of urine and prevent you from keeping water in your body.
  • Watch out for ice cream too sweet which will not quench your thirst. I advise you to favor fruit sorbets. Eating ice cream for pleasure, yes, but not throughout the day.
  • Avoid turning on your household appliances to cook food when the mercury rises high, to avoid adding heat to your home. Consider eating raw vegetables, cold starchy vegetables in salads and cold poultry for example. Eat your usual dishes cold or warm, it’s just as good!

Shopping advice: be careful of food poisoning due to the cold chain of certain foods which could be broken.

In case of extreme heat, remember to take a refrigerated bag in which you will place your fresh products during the return journey.

If you are going on a picnic, leave the mayonnaise, cream cakes or preparations made from raw meat or fish at home which can quickly “turn” with high temperatures.

Does alcohol hydrate?

Fancy a cold beer, a rosé or a cold cocktail? Alcohol is a false friend in hot weather, I’ll explain why!

Do you know the vasodilator effect of alcohol? This is the dilation of your blood vessels. This mechanism leads to an increase in body temperature and is therefore accompanied by a feeling of body heat. If you also expose yourself to the sun, you risk causing discomfort.

If you want to drink an aperitif, despite everything, be vigilant and stay in the shade, alternating between a glass of alcohol and a glass of water.

Alcohol does not quench your thirst! This is a false belief whose reigning champion is beer.

Drinking alcohol will mean that your urine will be more diluted, so you will need to pass it more frequently and thus increase your risk of dehydration.

If this alcohol-induced effect is accompanied by sweating due to heat, the risk is double.

What to remember and apply?

  • Drink plain water throughout the day (1.5 liters to 2 liters/day)
  • Eat vegetables and fruits (cold or warm), without forgetting other food families
  • Reduce your quantities (you shouldn’t have the same feeling of hunger as usual anyway)
  • Avoid alcohol, which is harmful in heat