With the heat of summer upon us, it’s getting harder to stay cool. You can dress in lightweight, loose clothing and protect yourself from the sun by slathering on sunscreen, but there is only so much that can be done when it’s this hot.
What we drink, eat, and smoke could influence body temperature, too. Drinking water, eating ice cream, and opening an ice cold beer are some of the most popular ways to cope with high temperature, but how much do they actually help?
Drinking Ice Water to Stay Cool
The facts about drinking ace water to stay cool are complicated because it kind of works, but the effects are short lived. Plus, the amount ingested makes a big difference.
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It seems like sipping on small amounts of cold water gives temporary relief, but that is quickly diminished when the organs warm up the cold fluids. That being said, guzzling a bunch of cold water isn’t a good idea, either, as it could slow down your blood flow. The process of thermoregulation relies pretty heavily on blood flow, so drinking a ton of cold water might negatively affect how the blood deals with heat.
So, stay hydrated, of course, because the body needs water to sweat and sweat is one of the body’s primary ways of cooling down. Just take it a little at a time on a hot day.
Ice Cream on a Hot Day
Ice cream might be an awesome treat during the summer time, but it doesn’t actually do much to cool the body down. In order to digest high-calorie foods, the body’s metabolism kicks into gear and produces heat as it works.
So, while eating ice cream might make your taste buds happy, and possibly even make you think you’re cooling down, that isn’t the case. When it is all said and done, your body temperature will warm up slightly.
What About an Ice Cold Beer?
Throwing back a beer on a summer evening feels like quintessential summer experience. The effect it has on your body temperature can be a little confusing.
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The body responds to alcohol by dilating the blood vessels in the skin. When this happens, you’re probably going to feel warmer because the surface of your skin will feel warm. What is actually happening is that the dilated blood vessels are releasing heat and helping to cool your core body temperature. So, in spite of the warm, flushed feeling that often follows an alcoholic beverage, you’re actually cooling down.
The Surprising Effect of Weed on Body Heat
Marijuana can cool the body down and this is thought to happen because of the way THC interacts with a receptor called TRPA-1. This receptor controls important functions, including pain relief and body temperature.
Whether or not it has a cooling effect is a little complicated. There are older studies documenting THC-induced hypothermia in mice, but there is also a study that recorded that a lower dose of THC caused hyperthermia. The belief at this time is that smoking a lot, like enough to get high, will cool the body down. Smaller amounts will likely warm the body up instead.