5 Surprising ways to stay cool in the heat

AP Photo/Mike Groll
AP Photo/Mike Groll

It’s hot, again. But there are natural ways to stay cool if you’re far from central air conditioning. Kudos to Mother Nature Network for finding some natural cooling tips that are based on science. Here they are:

1. Wear tropical clothes. Think loose, lightweight cotton or linen. A button-down men’s shirt called a guayabera popular in Mexico, South America, and Africa — and now Macy’s — is designed to wick moisture from the skin and worn untucked to allow air to circulate and cool the skin.

Ditto for Madras, a lightweight cotton fabric usually printed with colorful designs. It’s another cool choice for men’s or women’s clothing.


For summer suits, go for seersucker. Popular in the American South, the cotton ridged fabric designed for reducing heat on skin originally came from India.

2. Chill your pulse points. My mom taught me to run cold water over my wrists for about a minute when we were hiking in a national park one summer. It really works. Splashing water on your temples or face can produce a similar effect, according to Mother Nature Network. Of course, drinking cold water can cool you too — and also keep you hydrated!

3. Eat smaller meals. You body needs to rev up your metabolism to digest those big meals and that heats your body. Bonus points for adding more fruits and vegetables. Their high water content will quench your thirst in the heat. Here’s a list of those that are the most thirst quenching.

4. Think spicy foods. There may be a reason why some of the world’s warmest places like India and Thailand also serve the hottest foods. Eating spicy foods can cool you down by making you break out into a facial sweat. It seems like a paradox but the phenomenon called “gustatory facial sweating’’ makes your skin damp and you feel cooled by its evaporation. It’s caused by capsaicin, a chemical found in hot peppers. Willing to give it a try?


5. Stay cool under the covers. Fill a hot water bottle with ice water and place it on your ankles or back of your knees to cool them. You can also try bagging your sheets and tossing them in the freezer for an hour or two before bed. Using an absorbent pillow of organic cotton might also help keep you cooler at night instead of a latex pillow.

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