The human body is extraordinary. We have managed to survive and thrive all over the Earth. No other species has done this. “Like a chameleon,” we adapt to our environment, using our minds and logic. Using the resources of the Earth for food, shelter, and more we create convenient conditions for us! From the Artic to deep into the desert.
In Greece, the sweet Mediterranean climate has shifted and temperatures have escalated due to climate change that has affected our daily lives. But as human beings we search for better conditions, and we manage to find them, one way or another.
When the first burst of summer heat arrived in Greece some weeks ago, we started to change our food habits!
Vegetables and fruits became more prominent on our tables. Tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplants, peppers, and cucumbers are ideal for this season. Fruits are switched week by week, so you never get bored. Strawberries and cherries follow peaches and apricots, afterwards come plums, watermelons, and melons, as well as our famous figs!
So what are the best foods to keep you cool? The formula is: Yes to water, No to fat. We avoid foods rich in fat, like fatty meat, butter etc. We consume big quantities for water-rich vegetables. Also, fruits due to ‘fruit sugars’ boost the energy in your blood in hot season and refresh you with the water they contain.
Maybe the Top Six for fighting the heat are: cucumber, sweet peppers, zucchinis, watermelon, melon, and berries. Tomatoes are also very moisturizing, but if you have stomach problems (i.e. with excess acid or gastroesophageal reflux), try to combine them with other ingredients. Also, lean protein like fish can give you energy, without making you feel hot.
Cucumbers and zucchinis are mainly water and contain some substances to keep you cool. Peppers are super rich in vitamin C, plus many other ingredients which your body loses due to heat and sun. Also, their pH is ideal for the stomach, so you can eat as much as you want. Strawberries, cherries, and other berries are all very alkaline and make you “feel cold” according to traditional Chinese medicine. Watermelon or mellon with feta cheese provide you with water and protein for the whole day! Add some mint leaves and you will not need anything else for your palate!
Greek cuisine has evolved using these simple ingredients to help people feel cool, while providing heathy comfort food for our palates. Using these ingredients in creative ways and following the basic principles of the Mediterranean Diet can makes us feel both cool and satisfied! Even if you are experiencing a heat wave in Greece or somewhere else, Greek cuisine is ready to provide you guidance and make you feel more comfortable!
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an Msc in Botany-Biology.