Food and drinks that keep you cool when it’s hot

The last thing anyone wants during this unprecedented, and lengthy heatwave is a hot drink. But contrary to the heat-fuelled debate that surrounds this very topic, new research suggests that you can in fact cool down on a hot day by drinking a hot beverage.

Researchers at The University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics summarised that ‘if you drink a hot drink, it does result in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body, provided the additional sweat that’s produced when you drink the hot drink can evaporate’. And whilst, it seems completely illogical to drink something that makes you feel like you’re burning up, the science behind this old wives’ tale points to some truth.

What the researchers do allude to, is that for this theory to effectively work, the conditions need to be exact. You need high temperatures from dry heat, so muggy, humid weather won’t work as effectively. You also need to be wearing clothes that allow your sweat to evaporate, as if you wear something where sweat can’t escape to dry, your body temperature will not change. And lastly, you should always consider wearing very thin clothes, and items that are as light as possible – without bearing all of course.

So, you may be asking what science is behind this phenomenon? Peter McNaughton, a neuroscientist at The University of Cambridge concludes that your body sweats so much more when drinking something hot because of the receptors on the tongue and in the throat. Likewise, when you eat chilli peppers, and anything spicy/hot causes the same sweating sensation.

And in preparation for this continuing hot climate, here are some of the foods and drinks that keep you cool when it’s hot.

Poppy seeds

Who would have thought this opiate can help keep you cool – but they do. Poppy seeds are known to quench your thirst and therefore keep your insides feeling cool. So, it’s time to ditch the dressings, and opt for poppy seeds to top off your summer salad.


It is the season of British berries, and it is at this time of year when we become obsessed with berry-based smoothies, yoghurt bowels and desserts smothered in berries. But have you ever considered what the likes of raspberries, and blueberries do for your body? Berries are very alkaline, which means they generate cold energy in your system, in turn keeping your body feeling a little cooler. Not to mention, berries tend to contain a lot of water, ensuring your body remains hydrated at all times.

Water-heavy foods: Cucumbers, celery and watermelon

We all know cucumbers contain around 96% water, making them a perfect accompaniment for summer dishes. Other high-water foods include celery and radish, and studies have shown that eating cucumbers straight after exercising can hydrate your body as effectively, if not better than a sports drink. And if you fancy something refreshing whilst soaking up the sun, try watermelon as an afternoon snack. This fruit contains 92% water, so it’s time to soak up the water you need to keep cool, whilst enjoying the benefits!


An unexpected food group which can supposedly keep your body temperature low is fish and seafood. Unlike red meat that tends to give you that uncomfortable post-meal malaise, fish and seafood is high in protein, low in calories and high in water – 80% to be exact. So instead of loading up on steak, and overdosing on BBQ’s, try grilling a fillet of salmon or prawns for that juicy but more weather appropriate feeling.


Yoghurt is popular in very hot countries, where temperatures can become somewhat unbearable and intense at the height of day. However, yoghurt can be the god-send you’re looking for because of its high-water content and cooling effect, as it helps promote friendly bacteria in your gut which fights against food poisoning. And why is this relevant? You tend to eat outside during the summer months a lot more, meaning your body is more prone to harmful bacteria.

Coconut water

Packed full of electrolytes, coconut water is the latest health trend hitting the market. Although it has an acquired taste, coconut water is rich in essential minerals like potassium and sodium; key components we lose whenever we sweat. So, when you hit the gym, or go for a morning jog, perhaps consider ditching the sports drink and drink coconut water to replenish your body and keep yourself hydrated.

Ice tea

If a hot drink just doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then really you should be opting for an iced version instead. There are so many flavours available to suppress your thirst and to keep you feeling hydrated in no time, so flavours like lemon, mint, peach and raspberry are good options. Just add plenty of ice, and chill for a couple of hours and you’re ready to go. Just remember to avoid adding sugar, as you will soon dehydrate, not to mention, pile on the calories quicker than you can drink.

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