I don't know where y'all live but I live in Nashville, Tennessee (hence all of the y'all-ing that I tend to do). And chile, when the summer creeps on over this way, it can get pretty ridiculous due to all of the humidity in the South. While I've learned a few keep-cool-hacks like investing in blackout curtains, taking cooler showers, sleeping with a fan on (yes, I have central air but who wants to pay rent to keep that running non-stop?) and working downstairs (because heat rises, right?), I've also realized that if I eat certain foods, I am able to remain cooler too.
If you appreciate the summer season, but you can't stand feeling all hot 'n sticky, do your body temperature a favor and eat a little more of the following 10 foods. They're healthy, they're delicious and they're scientifically proven to make you feel cooler, well through Labor Day too.
Pineapples are actually one of my favorite fruits. When you get a good one, it's super sweet, plus it's packed with plenty of Vitamin C and manganese. As far as health benefits go, pineapples are good for you because they've got antioxidants that will reduce oxidative stress. Another cool thing is the enzyme bromelain that's in them can help you to better digest your food while also boosting your immune system (bromelain can ease arthritic-related discomfort too). Another bonus with pineapples is, thanks to all of the Vitamin C that's in it (approximately 131 percent of your RDA), it's a great food to treat yourself to if you're trying to get pregnant. That's because Vitamin C helps to fight off free radicals; ones that are prone to do a real number on your reproductive system, over time.
The reason why pineapples make this list of foods that are naturally able to keep your body cool is because, something else that bromelain is able to do is reduce bodily inflammation. The less inflamed your tissues are, the cooler your body temperature will be, overall.
COOL DOWN WITH: Impress your friends with a Pineapple Fluff Dessert. You can cop the recipe here.
When you come across a watermelon that is perfectly ripe, it is truly one of the best things ever! On the health tip, watermelon is good for your health because it's high in vitamins A and C. It also contains the plant compound cucurbitacin E, which contains anti-inflammatory properties. Since watermelon also has the plant nutrient lycopene in it, watermelon can help to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and keep your vision strong. As a bonus, thanks to the amino acid citrulline that this fruit also contains, watermelon is able to reduce muscle soreness, if you happen to be someone who works out on the regular.
And just how is watermelon able to cool your body down? Water is something that is able to help to regulate our body temperature. Since this is a fruit that happens to be made up of 92 percent water, I'm pretty sure you can connect the dots on why it can be a delicious way to beat the heat.
COOL DOWN WITH: Summer ain't right without some homemade watermelon popsicles. Learn how to make some of 'em here.
Guess how much water is in a cucumber? A whopping 96 percent! That's kind of crazy, once you factor in that it is a fruit (yes, fruit) that is packed with protein, fiber and lots of Vitamin K, along with some potassium, magnesium and Vitamin C too. The combination of all of these nutrients makes it possible for cucumbers to keep your blood sugar right, keep your bones nice and strong and, they can even help to make depression symptoms more manageable (due to all of the B-vitamins in them which can balance out your stress levels).
This is one more food that makes the "cool you off" list, mostly because it can hydrate you while keeping bodily inflammation down at the same time.
COOL DOWN WITH: If you're a smoothie kind of girl, how about one where cucumbers are the main ingredient? You can learn how to make that happen here.
Celery is a trip, ain't it? The reason why I say that is because, if there is any food on this list that is a lot like chewing water (well, cucumbers come in a close second), celery would have to be the one. That doesn't mean it's not hella good for you, though. Where do I begin? Celery contains the antioxidants ferulic acid, caffeic acid, and quecetin that help to soothe joint pain, help to heal kidney and liver infections, and also naturally reduce UTI-related symptoms. Celery has the vitamins A, B, C and iron in it. Some other things that are dope about this particular veggie are the properties in it can assist in lowering your blood pressure, fighting bacterial infections and, due to its diuretic properties, celery is a great food for treating bloating. Also, if your man has infertility issues, celery can also help to treat that (plus, it's known to make semen/sperm taste better because the C that's in it helps to make it taste less salty).
Since celery is made up of 95 percent water, it also can hydrate your cells so that your body temperature doesn't increase and cause you to feel hotter when you're out in the summer sun.
COOL DOWN WITH: If you happen to like soup year-round, how about some summer celery soup? The recipe is right here.
Bet you didn't see this one coming, huh? Let's start with all of the ways that mint is good for you. For starters, its anti-inflammatory properties can help to soothe cold and asthma-related symptoms. Since mint has a powerful way of inhibiting the growth of bacteria that is in our mouths, it's a great way to treat bad breath. Since mint also contains digestive enzymes, it's able to help your body to better absorb the nutrients from your food while also supporting your ability to maintain your preferred body weight. The anti-bacterial properties in mint can help to remove toxins from your system. And, mint is also able to stimulate the area of your brain that is directly connected to mental awareness and memory.
Thanks to the menthol that's in mint, if you put some mint leaves into your drink or even chew on a piece of mint gum, it can create a "chilling" sensation; one that won't literally cool your body down, but it can make you feel a lot more comfortable when you're in the summer heat.
COOL DOWN WITH: Feel like downing a couple of mocktails or two? How about a virgin mojito? You can make it here.
If you want to get a little more fiber into your system, apples totally have your back. They also have a nice amount of Vitamin C in them, so that you're able to get some antioxidants into your body as well. Since apples also have the flavonoid epicatechin in them, they can help to fight heart disease and lower your blood pressure. If you happen to have a real sweet tooth, some studies indicate that apples can actually lower your type 2 diabetes risk by as much as almost 30 percent. Apples also promote good gut health, contain properties that fight cancer and, the flavonoid quercetin that's in them can reduce bodily inflammation and significantly decrease the chance of having recurring asthma attacks.
COOL DOWN WITH: Treat you and your kids to some Caramel Apple Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches. If you want to, learn how to make them here.
7. Coconut Water
There are quite a few people in my life who are all about coconut water. That's actually a good thing because it's the kind of water that contains fiber and protein, along with with a fair amount of manganese, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin C. All of these nutrients (and others) can help to lower your blood sugar levels, strengthen your heart and, even reduce high oxalate levels that can ultimately lead to kidney stones. Another awesome ingredient found in coconut water is cytokinins. They are natural hormones that help plants to grow. In our bodies, they're beneficial because they are able to fight off cancer-causing cells while slowing down signs of aging as well.
When it comes to the ability to cool your body down, coconut water has its fair share of electrolytes. If you take those into your system when you're feeling hot, they can help your system to maintain a proper fluid balance which can support your body temperature remaining at a healthy level, as a direct result.
COOL DOWN WITH: Know what would be dope? Some Rainbow Coconut Water Spritzers. The recipe for them is here.
Peaches are dope. Full stop. Matter of fact, it's kind of a trip that something so delicious can also be so good for you. Every time you bite into a peach, you're getting some fiber and protein into your system. As far as nutrients go, this is a fruit that also has a nice amount of vitamins A and C, along with traces of potassium, copper, zinc and vitamins E and K. Thanks to the fiber, peaches can help to keep you regular. There are studies to support that peaches can also keep your skin's texture nice and smooth while protecting it from UV damage. Another perk is, peaches are able to stifle the production of histamines in your system; this means that if you're prone to summertime allergies, this is a fruit that can make them more bearable.
Peaches are a cool-down-food because they can also replenish electrolytes. And, it should go on record that vitamins like vitamins C and E are able to reduce oxidative stress while zinc can calm your nerves. The less "worked up" you are, the easier it is to remain cooled down.
COOL DOWN WITH: A couple of slices of homemade Creamy Peach Icebox Cake would be so bomb. Learn how to make it from scratch here.
Sprouts are the kind of food that, while they typically don't come up a lot, they probably should. By doing something as simple as adding them to your salad, sprouts are able to be a good source of protein and fiber. Not only that but sprouts actually contain as much as 100 times more enzymes than most fruits and vegetables, they can reduce the acids that can throw off your body's pH balance and the calcium and magnesium that sprouts have in them are able to keep your body chemistry in check as well.
And why is eating sprouts a wonderful way to cool your body down? Something else that sprouts are considered to be is an astringent food. What that means is, it's the type of food that helps the tissues in your body to shrink so that water is able to flow more smoothly throughout your system, ultimately cooling you down in the process.
COOL DOWN WITH: Interested in chowing down on a delicious sprout salad? Get all of the ingredients that you need here.
10. Hot Peppers
Do you tend to like a little bit of "kick" to your food? While all peppers are good for you (thanks to the vitamins A, C, potassium, folate and iron that are in them), what I'm specifically gonna touch on is hot peppers. Believe it or not, hot peppers are an anti-irritant that can actually help totreat ulcers. Some other I-bet-you-never-saw-coming benefits that come with hot peppers are, if you eat them while having a migraine, the sensation from the peppers can get your mind off of your headache discomfort; the chemical compound capsaicin that is in hot peppers is able to relieve joint pain; hot peppers are able to give you a boost of energy so that your metabolism goes into high gear and, they are also able to fight fungal infections that can trigger a cold or full-on flu attack.
If you're like, "I can get with that, but it makes absolutely no sense to eat hot peppers in the heat", I hear you. But, that's actually not true at all. When you eat them, they cause you to perspire. When that happens, it sends a message to your body that you need your system to cool you off. So, don't be afraid to toss back some jalapeños or chili pepper or two. They're better for your health than you probably thought they were. Plus, they can help to keep you cool—all summer long.
COOL DOWN WITH: How about a Coconut Jalapeño Margarita? A delightful recipe is right here.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Shutterstock
- 9 Foods That'll Actually Decrease Your Cortisol (Stress) Hormones ›
- 8 Foods That Will Keep You Cool, Calm & Totally Relaxed ›
- Foods That Make You Feel Good, Improve Mood - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This post is in partnership with Amgen.
The seemingly simple task of taking a breath is something most of us don’t think twice about. But for people who live with severe asthma, breathing does not always come easily. Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs, affects millions of people worldwide – 5-10% of which live with severe asthma. Severe asthma is a chronic and lifelong condition that is unpredictable and can be difficult to manage. Though often invisible to the rest of the world, severe asthma is a not-so-silent companion for those who live with it, often interrupting schedules and impacting day-to-day life.
Among the many individuals who battle severe asthma, Black women face a unique set of challenges. It's not uncommon for us to go years without a proper diagnosis, and finding the right treatment often requires some trial and error. Thankfully, all hope is not lost for those who may be fighting to get their severe asthma under control. We spoke with Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq. and Jania Watson, two inspiring Black women who have been living with severe asthma and have found strength, resilience, and a sense of purpose in their journeys.
Juanita Brown Ingram, Esq.
Juanita Ingram has a resume that would make anyone’s jaw drop. On top of being recently crowned Mrs. Universe, she’s also an accomplished attorney, filmmaker, and philanthropist. From the outside, it seems there’s nothing this talented woman won’t try, and likely succeed at. In her everyday life, however, Juanita exercises a lot more caution. From a young age, Juanita has struggled with severe asthma. Her symptoms were always exacerbated by common illnesses like a cold or flu. “I've heard these stories of my breathing struggles, but I remember distinctly when I was younger not being able to breathe every time I got a virus,” says Ingram. “I remember missing a lot of school and crying a lot because asthma is painful. I [was taken] to see my doctor often if I got sick with anything so I was hypervigilant as a child, and I still am.”
Today, Juanita says her symptoms are best managed when she’s working closely with her care team, avoiding getting sick and staying ahead of any symptoms. Ingram said she’s been blessed with skilled doctors who are just as vigilant of her symptoms as she is. While competing in the Mrs. Universe competition, Juanita took extra care to stay clear of other competitors to ensure she didn’t catch a cold or virus that would trigger her severe asthma. “I would stand off to the side and sometimes that could be taken as ‘oh, she thinks she's better than everybody else.’ But if I get sick during a pageant, I'm done. I had to compete with that in mind because my sickness doesn't look like everybody else's sickness.”
Even when her symptoms are under control, living with severe asthma still presents challenges. Juanita relies on her strong support system to overcome the hurdles caused by a lack of understanding from the public, “I think that there's a lot of lack of awareness about how serious severe asthma is. I would [also] tell women to advocate and to trust their intuition and not to allow someone to dismiss what you're experiencing.”
Jania, a content creator from Atlanta, Georgia, has been living with severe asthma for many years. Thanks to early testing by asthma specialists, Jania was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child after experiencing frequent flare-ups and challenges in her day-to-day life. “I specifically remember, I was starting school, and we were moving into a new house. One of the triggers for me and my younger sister at the time were certain types of carpets. We had just moved into this new house and within weeks of us being there, my parents literally had to pay for all new carpet in the house.”
As Jania grew older, she was suffering from fewer flare-ups and thought her asthma was well under control. However, a trip back to her doctor during high school revealed that her severe asthma was affecting her more than she realized. “That was the first time in a long time I had to do a breathing test,” she describes. “The doctor had me take a deep breath in and blow into a machine to test my breathing. They told me to blow as hard as I could. And I was doing it. I was giving everything I got. [My dad and the doctor] were looking at me like ‘girl, stop playing.’ And at that point [it confirmed] I still have severe asthma because I've given it all I got. It doesn't really go away, but I just learned how to help manage it better.”
Jania recognizes that people who aren’t living with asthma, may not understand the disease and mistake it for something less serious. Or there could be others who think their symptoms are minor, and not worth bringing up. So, for Jania, communicating with others about her diagnosis is key. “Having severe asthma [flare-ups] in some cases looks very similar to being out of shape,” she said. “But this is a chronic illness that I was born with. This is just something that I live with that I've been dealing with. And I think it's important for people to know because that determines the next steps. [They might ask] ‘Do you need a bottle of water, or do you need an inhaler? Do you need to take a break, or do we need to take you to the hospital?’ So, I think letting the people around you know what's going on, just in case anything were to happen plays a lot into it as well.”
Like Juanita, Jania’s journey has been marked by ups and downs, but she remains an unwavering advocate for asthma awareness and support within the Black community. She hopes that her story can be an inspiration to other women with asthma who may not yet have their symptoms under control. “There's still life to be lived outside of having severe asthma. It is always going to be there, but it's not meant to stop you from living your life. That’s why learning how to manage it and also having that support system around you, is so important.”
By sharing their journeys, Juanita and Jania hope to encourage others to embrace their conditions, obtain a proper management plan from a doctor or asthma specialist like a pulmonologist or allergist, and contribute to the improvement of asthma awareness and support, not only within the Black community, but for all individuals living with severe asthma.
Read more stories from others like Juanita and Jania on Amgen.com, or visit Uncontrolled Asthma In Black Women | BREAK THE CYCLE to find support and resources.
Issa Rae has built her career on being the awkward Black girl, leading her to notoriety and astronomical, lucrative deals. Years later, however, that narrative may be changing. The multifaceted actress first won our hearts years ago with her web series, The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl, in 2011, and she further capitalized off the name with her autobiography. When she premiered her HBO (Max) series Insecurein 2016, it too had the same awkward Black girl theme as her character tried to navigate friends, family, and romantic relationships.
But it’s not just an on-screen persona; the Rap Sh!t executive producer has shared that she is the same way in real life and overall has inspired a category of Black women who, too, identify as the awkward Black girl. Last week, Issa joined Rap Sh!t co-stars KaMillion and Aida Osman on Sherri and revealed whether she still feels like the awkward Black girl.
“I do, but I feel more confident in that way. You know what’s deeply ironic is that Insecure, doing that made me more confident in myself and what I was doing ‘cause I would distance myself from the character like ‘girl, she is stupid,’” she joked. “I’ve come such a long way, you know, still making dumb decisions, but being able to do something like that and work with people I love and step back and say I did that has just instilled a newfound confidence. So, I’m awkwardly confident.”
As Issa’s empire continues to grow, we are sure to see her continue to grow personally and inspire a generation with her realness and relatability.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by Emma McIntyre/WireImage for Parkwood