May 30, 2024

Keeping cool: 6 foods that help

Some foods and spices will help you stay cool when the weather is hot.

When the weather heats up, everyone wants to cool down. Did you know food can help? Here are 6 foods and spices to cool you off when the temperatures rise.


  • How it keeps you cool: Watermelon is mostly water — more than 90%. That helps you stay hydrated. Generally, the more water in a food, the better it is at keeping your temperature down. When you’re hydrated, your digestion works more efficiently, which helps keep you cool.
  • How to pick and prepare: Choose a watermelon that is heavy, dark green, and dull. Shiny watermelons are often not ripe. Look for the “field spot.” This is the creamy-yellowish spot where the melon sat on the ground to ripen. If the spot is small or white, it is likely not ripe. When you select your perfect watermelon, just slice and enjoy! You can also blend it into a smoky gazpacho or make a granita for the ultimate cool treat.


  • How it keeps you cool: Studies show that cinnamon can reduce stomach temperature during digestion.
  • How to up your intake: To maximize the health benefits, buy cinnamon sticks and grate over your favorite dish. Cinnamon is a versatile spice. It can be added to most baking recipes, fruits, coffee, or tea.

Spicy foods

  • How they keep you cool:  Spicy foods can make you sweat. When sweat evaporates, it cools your skin. This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. In fact, people who live closer to the equator often eat more spicy foods, in part because of this temperature control mechanism.
  • Which spices you should eat: Try fresh ginger, cayenne, and red chili in your meals. Many of these spices work together to help our bodies better absorb nutrients and make use of their benefits.


  • How it keeps you cool: Like watermelon, cucumbers have a high water content — almost 97%.  This makes it the ideal summer veggie for staying hydrated and cool. It also has minimal sugar and fat.
  • How to pick and prepare: Choose a cucumber with a bright, even skin color. Make sure your cuke isn’t dull and doesn’t have any sweating, blemishes, or soft spots. If you prefer smaller seeds and a thinner skin, try Persian, English, or Japanese cucumbers. You can enjoy cucumbers by themselves, with hummus, smashed, or in a chilled soup.


  • How it keeps you cool: Cardamom, sometimes known as elaichi, is a common Indian spice used in cooking. It contains numerous antioxidants including cineole, a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress, leading to a decrease in body heat.
  • How you can up your intake: Cardamom can be found in pods or seeds. To maximize the flavor and effectiveness, grind the seeds of the cardamom as you need it. Cardamom can be used in sweet and savory dishes. Try cardamom tea, add it to coffee, or include it in a healthy dessert.


  • How it keeps you cool: Peppermint is rich in menthol. Menthol stimulates coldness receptors in the skin, producing a cooling sensation. In the United Kingdom, researchers found that peppermint oil was “extremely helpful” in decreasing symptoms of hot flashes caused by breast cancer treatment.
  • How you can up your intake: Add it to soups, salads, fruit salsas, teas, or lemonades.

There are many more spices and foods that help keep you cool when it’s hot outside. Think about these cooling foods next time you fill your plate, cup, or bowl when it’s toasty outside!