Eat to Beat the Heat: Find Out Which Foods Cool You Down

June 27, 2013

This summer heat might leave you craving a cold snack after class to cool down. But did you know that reaching for an ice cream cone or a flavored slushie could actually make you feel hotter? Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University, recently spoke to Time about which foods can spike your body temperature, and which can help bring it down. His insights might surprise you.

Foods That Can Heat You Up

Ice Cream:
“The sheer temperature difference gives a cooling sensation, but when your body starts to digest, you feel warm,” says Swanson. “Fat is notorious for moving slowly through the digestive system so it takes more energy to digest that fat. Anytime you are putting more energy through the system, whether it be digestion or weight lifting, your body has a tendency to heat up.”

Whole Grains:
Similar to fatty products, complex carbohydrates are also harder to digest, causing body temperature to rise. Processed foods can also be added to this list for the same reason.

Foods That Can Cool You Down

Watermelon, Cucumbers, Strawberries:
Swanson says that the higher the water content of a food, the better it is at cooling you down. Luckily, these sweet treats are over 90 percent water!

Leafy Greens:
Yet another reason to hop on the leafy green bandwagon. Swanson says most raw fruits and vegetables are 80 to 95 percent water. “Anything that contains a lot of water goes through the digestive system very quickly, giving you a cooling sensation.”