The heat is on in the UK (well for a few days anyway) with new highest temperatures being set in all four nations.
It’s also possibly the first time on record that Brits have wished they could jet off to the West Indies to enjoy cooler temperatures.
The importance of taking water on board to stay hydrated has rightly been stressed – but with 30% of our daily water intake coming from food it’s also important to eat the right foods during hot weather.
Fruit and vegetables are obvious sources of heatwave H2O with watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes and strawberries topping the list. Asparagus should be avoided as it acts as a diuretic and so depletes the body of water, not withstanding the smell it makes when you ‘flush’ it out! And experts warn that salty snacks – especially pork scratchings – are the worst thing to eat in a heatwave.
However hot it is, we still need food to get us through the working day, and fortunately there are more hearty options available than a bowl of fruit.
Stews are recommended as a more filling option that will top up your water table and swapping lamb or beef for fish might go down better in the summer sun.
Soup will also help rehydrate with lighter options such as pea and mint, minestrone or the cold and heavy-on-tomato gazpacho more palatable as the temperature outside matches that of the oven. If you can’t stand the heat stay in the kitchen as the new phrase goes.
India and Mexico know a thing or two about hot climate food – both have seen temperatures 10 degrees higher than the UK’s new record breaking 40C.
So, it’s perhaps not surprising – and also welcome – that experts recommend hot foods such as chilli and curries as good nosh for heatwaves for two reasons.
Firstly, they usually contain plenty of water through tomatoes, vegetables and sauces – with thai curries using coconut milk particularly beneficial.
Secondly, the chillies and other spices stimulate heat receptors in the mouth, boosting circulation and encouraging the body to sweat and keep us cool.
The SK range of foods inspired from around the world includes hot and cold Indian and Tex Mex classics that can whet the appetite and help with hydration – just don’t be tempted to experiment with a side dish of asparagus and pork scratchings.