Beat the Heat: Cooling Tips and Refreshing Healthy Treats for Summer

   By Dr. Laurie Grisez, ND

Central Oregon summers are notoriously a time for biking, hiking, and enjoying the rivers and abundant alpine lakes. Additionally it is a time for taking precautions if the heat becomes extreme. Symptoms of heat related illness include dizziness, nausea, headache, and lethargy. The best ways to stay cool include taking frequent breaks from strenuous activity or plan activities for the cooler parts of the day. Wearing loose, light clothes and a hat can be beneficial. Hydrating before activities in the heat and frequently while exercising will lower the chances of heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

There are abundant options of cooling foods and refreshing drinks that can help you stay cool and beat the heat. Watermelon is composed of almost 90% water, this summer treat is tasty and keeps you hydrated. Additionally this summer fruit contains potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins A and C. An easy cooling vegetable juice combination to mix up in your Vitamix or blender is celery and cucumber. Garnish with a mint sprig and this hydrating drink will add potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus,  and folate to your day.

You are likely well versed in the numerous benefits of herbal teas. These powerful plants add nutritive and medicinal benefits to specific body systems. A great way to consume herbal tea in the summer is as an iced tea. You can make a larger batch of your favorite tea, refrigerate in mason jars then enjoy over ice. The tea will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. A great recipe for a cooling summer herbal iced tea is to combine equal parts of loose leaf peppermint, hibiscus, rosehips, and lemon balm. Stir the dry tea together well. Meanwhile bring 6 cups of water to boil and remove from heat. Add 6 teaspoons of the tea blend to the water, cover and steep at least 15 minutes. Add honey and lemon to taste. Strain into glass container or mason jars and refrigerate. Once cooled, another idea is to add the iced tea to ice cube trays and freeze. Add the tea ice cubes to a tall glass and pour over fresh made lemonade for a thirst quenching treat.

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