The diet to survive the great heat

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Joe Dispenza
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Temperatures up to 37 ° C. The first heat wave this summer has set the days of late June on fire in the North and Center. With a boom in calls to 118.


Unfortunately, in these conditions of extreme heat - often associated with high levels of humidity - we will also have to get used to our latitudes. Many seek refuge in air conditioning, to the point that a study just published in Nature Communications and conducted by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (Austria), Boston University (USA), Ca 'Foscari University of Venice and the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate change (of the country) announces that in 2050, global energy demand will increase between 11 and 27%, mainly to cool the workplace.


Faced with this burning scenario, nutrition plays an important role in helping us to better tolerate the heat, especially when daily life puts us to the test.

«Let's think about who has to face heavy thermal stress, such as farmers, bricklayers, road wardens or the workers of large industrial warehouses ”, says Dr. Loreto Nemi, dietician, specialist in human nutrition sciences. «For them, the main risk is dehydration, which can be countered with adequate fluid intake: it is better to prefer the waters richer in mineral salts, with a fixed residue of at least between 500 and 1.500 mg / l. Equally important is the supply of potassium, easily dispersed with sweating and widely present in fresh and dried fruit, legumes, raw ham, smoked salmon and oil seeds».




  • If you spend many hours outdoors or near heat sources

Strange but true, a relief can also come from spicy foods. The Chili pepper it stimulates those receptors on the skin that normally respond to heat and triggers some physical reactions, including greater sweating: this helps the body to regulate its temperature and, consequently, favors a more rapid cooling.

"This is why this vegetable can be useful for those who spend a lot of time outdoors or work in environments that expose to sources of radiant heat, such as steel mills, foundries, but also pizzerias with wood-burning ovens", comments the expert. «By the way, the chilli promotes digestion, which for these categories must be fast: for the same purpose, the consumption of lean meats, fish and vegetables is also perfect ».


  • If you have air conditioning in the office

Those who stay cool all day and then have to deal with a sudden heat wave in the evening can find a support in flavored waters, which are obtained by diluting fruit and vegetable extracts (carrots, celery, lemon, cucumber, etc.) or by infusing aromatic herbs such as mint or basil leaves.

«In addition to being pleasant on the palate, they are rich in vitamins and mineral salts that energize the day and give the body a“ refresh ”effect».


  • If you have to stay focused

"Truck drivers, taxi drivers, bus drivers and people always behind the wheel, who have to keep the level of attention high, can abound with whole grains, possibly in grains, which help to keep the mind active and focused thanks to the content of B vitamins », assures Nemi.




  • If the heat doesn't make you sleep

Are you at work all right? The problem is sleeplessness at night? Green light to complex carbohydrates in the evening, because they contain tryptophan (an amino acid that promotes rest) and micronutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and selenium, involved in neuromuscular relaxation.

Obviously, it is a matter of selecting them well: in our imagination, in fact, these nutrients coincide with pasta and pizza, but in summer dinners it is better to bring to the table a cold salad of spelled or barley with courgettes or maybe quinoa with shrimp and vegetables.


  • When you play sports

Sports enthusiasts are tempted to consume cold drinks or foods, such as iced drinks or ice cream. In reality, it is a temptation to stay away from: beyond the risks, such as classic congestion, the body feels a sensation of refreshment that is only apparent, because by increasing the gap between internal and external temperatures, you will feel even warmer in a few minutes.

Better then rehydrate with a drink at room temperature or even lukewarm, as the tradition of tea in the desert teaches. “In fact, a study by the School of Human Kinetics in Ottawa has shown that, in order to obtain a cooling effect from hot liquids, it is necessary that the extra sweat produced can evaporate completely from the skin. This is possible if the climate is dry and the clothing allows the skin to transpire ”, explains the nutritionist.




Recommendations for everyone

Apart from lifestyle and air conditioning, every year's recommendations apply to everyone: drink plenty and consume moisturizing vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, melon, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and peaches.


"Or you can prepare a hydrosaline supplement at home: 1,3 liters of water are enough, or the equivalent of a one and a half liter bottle by removing two glasses; 30 grams of whole cane sugar from organic farming; 1 gram of whole cooking salt; half a glass of fresh lemon juice. It is a valid alternative to the classic supplement, but free of dyes, preservatives and chemical additives », says the expert.



Red dot months

A hot summer awaits us, characterized by above-average temperatures, vsevere heat waves from North Africa and violent storms.

Word of Andrea Vuolo, meteorologist of 3B Meteo, who is keen to clarify: «It is risky to make long-term forecasts. The seasonal trends are the result of a meteorological statistic, based on the calculations produced in the last 30 years: surely, what emerges is the greater frequency of heat waves, a symptom of global warming ».

However, since the end of June the telephone number 1500 of the Ministry of Health. Every day, including holidays, from 10 to 16 it offers information on heat wave bulletins in 27 cities in the country, on services in the area, and on risk prevention.



Watch out for drugs

Some medicines can interact with heat and potentiate its negative effects. It is the case of anxiolytics, antihistamines, antidepressants or antiparkinsonians (can inhibit the sweating mechanism), beta-blockers (able to reduce the ability to dissipate heat) or diuretics (can lead to dehydration). In any case, any therapy should never be suspended autonomously, it is always necessary to consult the attending physician.



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