Beat the heat: Food to help you stay hydrated amid extreme heat

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Beat the heat: Food to help you stay hydrated amid extreme heat
Beat the heat: Food to help you stay hydrated amid extreme heat

MANILA, Philippines — Because of consistent scorching heat due to El Niño and the dry season, nutrition experts advised the public to modify their diets to stay hydrated and cool.

Two registered nutritionist-dietitians and professors — Marie Geraldine Liboro and Janina Villafuerte — gave their recommendations through their study: “Foods to Beat the Heat: Nutrition Expert Recommendations in the Time of El Niño.”

READ: Philippines to endure extreme heat until mid-May

According to Villafuerte, staying hydrated amid intense weather is essential for maintaining optimal bodily functions.

“Staying hydrated in such intense heat is essential for a number of bodily functions of water, including controlling body temperature, lubricating joints, preventing infections, supplying nutrients to cells, and maintaining organ health,” Villafuerte told

“Drinking enough water also enhances mood, thought process, and quality of sleep,” she added.

READ: ‘So hot you can’t breathe’: Extreme heat hits the Philippines

Below is a list of healthy foods the public can incorporate into their diets to help them stay hydrated:

  • Water-rich food such as cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, oranges, and lettuce — Liboro and Villafuerte noted these foods are rich in vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help promote general health in addition to providing water.
  • Coconut water for electrolyte balance — Noting that heat-related sweating can result in electrolyte abnormalities, which can induce exhaustion and cramping in the muscles, the experts also recommended coconut water not only due to its hydrating qualities but because it also contains electrolytes like magnesium and potassium that help replace the electrolytes lost due to perspiration.
  • Cooling cucumbers —  An excellent choice for keeping cool and hydrated due to its high water content and crisp texture. It can be eaten raw as a cool snack or sliced and added to salads.
  • Refreshing salads — The experts also advised choosing salads instead of large heavy meals, especially salads full of hydrating items like cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and leafy greens. They also recommended including protein sources such as beans, tofu, or grilled chicken.
  • Herbal teas that rehydrate and revitalize — Avoid caffeine or sugary drinks in hot weather, as they can actually induce or even worsen dehydration. Instead, the experts recommended herbal teas high in water content, such as chamomile, hibiscus, or peppermint to help rehydrate and revitalize our bodies.
  • Frozen treats — Experts recommended homemade frozen desserts by blending frozen fruits, such as mangoes or berries, with Greek yogurt or coconut milk. Also advisable are homemade popsicles made with pureed fruit and a dash of coconut water.
  • Lighter, lean protein sources — Protein options like baked or grilled fish, chicken, tofu, and beans also supply vital nutrients without it being too heavyn— providing a lighter option to hearty, fried meals.

Approaching La Niña season

Meanwhile, even as La Niña or the wet season fast approaches, Villafuerte stressed that hydration remains just as important even after extreme heat.

READ: El Niño, La Niña together? What to know

“Inclusion of vitamin C-rich food items like fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system to fight diseases during this season,” Villafuerte told

“Soup and other warm dishes are the best foods that will help you live comfortably through cold weather,” she added.

In the end, Villafuerte stressed that a balanced meal provides all the nutrients needed by the body in any type of extreme weather.

The state weather bureau earlier forecast the current El Niño phenomenon to transition to a neutral condition by June, and then switch to La Niña by July.

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