Bad news for those praying for cooler weather to prevail soon—the current heatwave is expected to continue until September or October, as forewarned by weather experts, due to the onset of El Nino. Most of us have been staying indoors more and taking more frequent showers to cope with the searing heat and humidity. While these habits help, we can do more to cool our body down in more natural ways—from within our body, that is. If you’re looking to stay chilled from the inside out, there are plenty of body cooling food and drinks to keep the ‘heatiness’ at bay, or so they say.
5 Body Cooling Food You Can Easily Find In Malaysia
Spoiler alert: Ice cream is not really a good cooling food for your body.
Ain’t no food as cool as the cucumber. The versatile fruit (no, not vegetable) provides a natural cooling effect thanks to its high water content (more than 95%). Plus, it contains essential electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which maintain fluid balance and regulate body temperature. Not to mention, it’s rich in vitamins and nutrients that support overall health.
The great thing about cucumbers is that you can consume them in multiple ways—they go with various dishes, can be snacked on as is, or made into juice!
Nothing like sinking your teeth into a juicy watermelon on a hot, scorching day. Watermelon is also well-known for its high water content (more than 90%), and that should be enough reason to serve this thirst-quenching fruit more often on the dining table these days. But did you know that this body cooling food is also rich in lycopene—among many other health benefits—which helps protect your skin from sun damage?
While yoghurt may not have a direct cooling effect on the body like cucumber and watermelon, the smooth and creamy texture can be particularly refreshing during hot weather. Moreover, yoghurt contains probiotics which are good for the gut, and a healthy gut regulates body temperature better.
4. Mint Leaves
The cooling and soothing effect you feel after consuming mint is thanks to its menthol properties, which trigger the cold-sensitive receptors in the skin. While popping a mint candy provides quick and refreshing relief, you can also add mint leaves into your cooking or eat them raw to enjoy the cooling benefits.
Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are alkaline in nature, which means they have a potent cooling effect that reduces inflammation in the body. Not only that, the antioxidants found in these bite-sized body cooling food also help in countering the heat.
5 Body Cooling Drinks You Can Easily Find In Malaysia
Plain water is fine, but there are more beverage options that you can (and should) explore.
1. Coconut Water
Roadside stalls selling coconut water are a common sight in Malaysia whenever the hot season lands, and for good reasons. The tropical drink is a delicious, electrolyte-rich beverage that can restore hydration and replenish lost fluids in your body. It’s widely available here, which makes it the perfect body cooling drink to quench your thirst when you’re out and about under the hot sun.
2. Chrysanthemum Tea
Chrysanthemum tea is the go-to herbal tea to combat the heat. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is considered a cooling herb that helps disperse excessive heat from the body. On top of that, chrysanthemum tea is also infused with anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate heat-related discomforts such as headaches or swollen sensations.
3. Air Mata Kucing (Luo Han Guo)
Air mata kucing is a concoction of luo han guo (monk fruit), dried longan, and winter melon that is popular among local folks. The tasty herbal beverage is not only super refreshing to drink when the temperature is high but also highly nutritious as monk fruit is rich in antioxidants, and helpful in alleviating coughs and sore throats. Aside from buying this drink from stores, you can also brew it yourself at home.
4. Barley Water
Barley water is another popular drink in Malaysia and has plenty of health benefits, including a natural cooling effect. Cold barley tea is a staple summer drink in Japan that helps prevent heat-induced disorders by lowering the core body temperature. However, you shouldn’t drink it excessively as it may cause low sodium levels and side effects like indigestion.
5. Cucumber Water
Drinking plenty of liquids is the bare minimum one can do to keep cool and stay hydrated when it’s melting outside. While plain water is sufficient, you can add more goodness to your glass of water by dropping in a few cucumber slices. We have already talked about the health benefits that cucumber offers, and making ‘cucumber water’ is a quick, cheap, and flavourful way to make drinking water more enjoyable!
Besides Consuming More Body Cooling Food And Drinks, You Should Avoid Certain Dishes Too
Apart from relying on body-cooling foods and drinks to stay internally balanced, you should also try to decrease your intake of heaty and dehydrating dishes whenever possible. Some things to avoid include highly processed foods such as hamburgers, doughnuts, candy bars, and pasta, as well as diuretic foods like mangoes, fennel, and asparagus.
Also, try to consume less meat (which requires a lot of energy to digest), coffee, and tea (the latter two flush more water out of your body). And no, eating more ice cream doesn’t really help. In fact, it can actually raise your core temperature after the temporary cooldown as the indigestion process releases a significant amount of heat!