Heat wave in Germany: what should I eat on a hot day?

Updated on 06/14/2022 at 12:42

  • Dehydration can lead to dizziness and headaches, so you should always drink enough.
  • Light meals with fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and nutrients and are not heavy on the stomach.
  • Food can spoil quickly in summer; make sure you have a good cold chain.

You can find more health topics here

Sufficient water intake is particularly important in summer temperatures, because if you sweat, you lose fluids. But the body needs water, for example to regulate its temperature or to transport nutrients. Increased sweating can quickly lead to a lack of fluid in the body. This loss must be compensated by drinking regularly. Even small water deficits can cause physical discomfort such as poor concentration, nausea, dizziness or headaches. Cardiovascular problems can occur even in sensitive people.

It’s also important to drink regularly throughout the day and not just when you’re thirsty. Because thirst is a warning signal when the body is already suffering from a lack of fluids.

Drinking is essential: How many liters do I need?

“Depending on your body size and physical activity, you should drink at least two to two and a half liters of low-calorie or no-calorie fluids in the summer. The formula body weight x 0.03 = liters per day provides a guide. If you sweat much, it should be correspondingly more liquid,” says Monika Bischoff, graduate ecotrophologist and head of the Center for Nutritional Medicine and Prevention at the Barmherzige Brüder Hospital in Munich.

The German Society for Nutrition eV (DGE) recommends calorie-free beverages such as mineral water and drinking water, as well as unsweetened herbal and fruit teas as liquid providers. Juice sprays made with 1 part juice and 3 parts water are also acceptable as they provide additional vitamins and minerals to the body. Coffee, green tea and black tea should be drunk in moderation and are not suitable for children due to their caffeine content. High-sugar, low-nutrient soft drinks such as lemonades, fruit juices, iced tea, or coffee drinks from the refrigerated section should be avoided. They increase the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus and tooth decay.

Also read: 2-3 liters is healthy, but what happens if you drink too much water?

Cold drinks cause abdominal pain

Drinking too fast and cold drinks can lead to problems in the gastrointestinal tract. This is also confirmed by the nutritionist: “The body first has to bring cold drinks to body temperature, which again costs energy. Therefore, drinks should not be too cold, even lukewarm tea can quench thirst. For people with a sensitive and sensitive gut (for example, an irritable bowel) there can be a kind of temperature shock to the intestines and, as a result, abdominal discomfort.”

Light meals give you energy

Many people know the feeling of not being so hungry on a hot day. However, the body must still receive enough food, this is the only way to keep the body running. Because it needs a certain amount of nutrients throughout the year to function properly. “Even in hot weather, the body needs nutrients and energy to cover the basal metabolic rate, depending on the additional activity, the energy need can increase or decrease. Since we tend to drink more on hot days, we already feel full, and that’s OK, but don’t be fooled, “explains the expert.

Heavy and fatty dishes, such as schnitzel, roasts or hamburgers, put extra pressure on the body because they are difficult to digest. On the other hand, those who eat more fresh fruits and vegetables provide the body with important nutrients, and these foods are not heavy on the stomach. “In general, preference should be given to regional and seasonal foods. Light cuisine with lots of vegetables and fruit -preferably five servings a day- and easily digestible proteins are ideal on hot days. I recommend, for example, a pearl barley salad with vegetables and feta cheese,” says Monika Bishop.

Fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as melons, tomatoes or cucumbers, are ideal foods on hot days as they also provide hydration to the body.

compensate for mineral deficiencies

If you sweat a lot or play sports on summer days, you lose minerals due to increased sweat. Therefore, these people in particular must ensure a balanced, varied and healthy diet to absorb enough vitamins and nutrients. Then it is not necessary to take additional dietary supplements.

“During sports activities or after, isotonic drinks can be taken,” says Bischoff. This means that minerals that have been lost can be returned to the body after a sweaty workout.

Cool food well in hot weather

In hot weather, microorganisms such as salmonella and other bacteria can spread particularly well and quickly in food. To avoid infection or food poisoning, perishable foods such as meat, eggs, and milk dishes should be cooled sufficiently and consumed quickly. Salmonella can also multiply well in sprouts.

Therefore, it is better to transport your purchases directly in an insulated bag and quickly store them in the fridge at home.

About the expert: Monika Bischoff is a qualified ecotrophologist and nutritionist. She directs the Center for Nutritional Medicine and Prevention at the Barmherzige Brüder Hospital in Munich. The ZEP is certified as a specialist practice in nutritional medicine by the Federal Association of German Nutritionists (BDEM). Her areas of responsibility include preventative nutritional counseling and nutritional therapy.

Sources used:

  • Interview with Monika Bischoff
  • German Nutrition Society eV: Press information The best summer thirst quenchers
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