Looking to cool down a little? Here are some things that various cultures traditionally use to cool down in hot climates:
1. Thailand: Ginger. Most of Thailand is tropical and humid throughout the year and pungent ginger tea – hot or cold – is sold at most cafes and from street vendors. The natural chemicals in ginger stimulate hormones like estrogen and progesterone that regulate your internal temperature, making you feel more comfortable.
2. Greece: Cucumbers. The Greeks use cucumber as a mainstay in many of their traditional dishes – and no wonder: cucumbers are 96% water and contain silicon, which works on the pituitary gland to cool the body down. Plus, the plants light summery scent reduces your stress levels.
3. Brazil: Mint. There’s a reason people who live near the Equator load their drinks with mint: it’s menthol oils lower your body temperature. It also affects nerves in the throat and mouth, creating a cooling sensation instantly.
4. India: Turmeric. The Indian healing system of Ayurveda uses turmeric – the spice that gives curry its bite – in food to counteract the hot “fire” of summer. When its main ingredient, capsaicin, reaches your sensory nerves, your body reacts to the heat by making you feel cooler. Turmeric also reduces inflammation, improves memory and may even help stave off Alzheimer’s.
5. Vietnam: Lemongrass. Vietnam is also hot and very humid, which is one reason lemongrass is a staple in kitchens there. Its oils have “anti-pyretic” properties that lower body temperature so efficiently, herbalists use it to reduce fevers. This Asian flavoring also detoxifies the pancreas, liver and kidneys, helping your body release trapped heat and perspire more effectively, and contains an analgesic that helps to reduce pain.
6. South Africa: Coconut water. Being a subtropical climate South Africa is famous for the phenomenally hydrating coconut water it exports around the world. Research shows that water – extracted from tender young coconuts – is even more hydrating than pure H2O and s packed with potassium, which helps your body maintain electrolytes that are lost through sweating. It works as well as sport drinks, but without the sugar, which is why it is also the choice of many olympic athletes.
7. China: Green tea. Even during the summer the Chinese drink hot tea every day. And though it sounds counterproductive, drinking hot liquids actually cools down your body! To compensate for the liquid’s hot temperature the pores in your skin open to release trapped heat more easily, physiologists explain.
So go ahead and get cooler and more cultured this summer by trying any of these refreshing (not-so-secret) secrets for beating the heat from some of the world’s hottest places! You can find many recipes using all of these wonderful foods right here at youngandraw.com.