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Why Do Our Diets Change During Summer?

Why Do Our Diets Change During Summer?

Going on holiday, or just enjoying the sun from home? In this blog we will be discussing how and why our diets change during the warmer months and some advice to adapt to these changes and better handle the summer heat. 

The Importance of Hydration

The heat from the hot summer sun contributes to the dissipation of excess metabolic heat (heat generated by our bodies) through the evaporation of sweat. This contributes to excess water losses which may lead to dehydration. Having electrolyte replacement beverages can help compensate for losses through sweat by enhancing water uptake and water retention. My best advice to ensure adequate hydration is to obtain a well hydrated state in the morning and maintain that level of hydration throughout the day, and to avoid drinks with diuretic effects (drinks that make you expel more water), which mainly includes caffeinated drinks such as coffees, some teas and some sodas.

Hot Drinks vs. Iced Drinks 

On the note of drinks, how do you like your coffee; hot or iced? You might be surprised to find that a hot drink might be more efficient in cooling you down on a hot day compared to an iced drink! One study found that drinking warm beverages is more effective in lowering body temperature than cold beverages, because cold drinks contribute to greater heat storage whereas hot drinks encourage sweating which cools us down. So if you need a cool down, you might want to think twice before opting for an iced drink. However, as cold drinks don’t have the same ability to induce sweating, they may be more efficient in aiding hydration status. Looks like we’ll be having a cold drink in one hand and a hot in the other.

Why Do Our Appetites Change? 

Ever noticed when we approach the summer months and it starts getting hot outside, the desire to eat is not as strong as it has been? There’s a good reason for this: appetite is more suppressed in warm environments compared to cold environments! Food has a thermic effect, which means eating can actually slightly raise your body temperature. In summer we often crave cold foods like fresh fruit or salads, rather than warm, comforting soups and stews; this is because hot foods have a greater thermogenic effect and will make us warmer. So if you notice a decrease in appetite, use it as an opportunity to try some new refreshing recipes to help keep you energized over summer - we love a watermelon salad!

Travellers’ Tummy

If you’re planning on traveling this summer, especially if you’re traveling abroad, be cautious of the foods you eat. Raw fruits and veg can carry pathogens that can cause digestive upset, and differences in hygiene practices across different cultures can lead to contaminated foods - stay away from the salad buffet. To be on the safe side, try to stick with foods that are cooked and served hot, and if you are unsure about the water quality of the area you’re in, stick to bottled water. If you happen to get sick with traveler’s diarrhoea, ensure that you drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate, take electrolytes and consider taking a probiotic to help restore your gut health. 

On the other hand, the disruption in your normal routine combined with dietary changes when trying all the delicious foods a new country has to offer can also lead to constipation. Try to ensure adequate water and fibre intake even if you’re enjoying all the local foods your travel destinations have to offer. You can always bring a supplement with you such as MOBU Fibre Pro or Psyllium husk to help keep those bathroom trips regular! 

What's your favourite food to keep you cool during summer?
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