THIS week’s heatwave is set to break records with the mercury tipped to reach a sizzling 39C in the south east.
The sweltering conditions have even prompted the Met Office to issue an amber heat warning – the second highest level – for parts of the UK.
Those in affected areas are being urged to stay out of the sun, especially between 12 and 3pm, to drink plenty of water and to check on older people who are living by themselves.
But the summer scorcher can mean only one thing – hot and sticky conditions.
There are things you can do to help you stop sweating… or at least perspire a little less.
From eating more chocolate to ditching coffee, Healthista has five top tips to help you keep your cool in the heat…
1. Eat chocolate
Sweat is nothing more, nothing less than very dilute urine. So, when we sweat we are essentially peeing through our pores.
With all the fluid that floats out of us during heavy sweating, a lot of electrolytes are also lost.
Minerals are integral components of our nervous systems and so, if electrolytes like sodium, calcium and especially magnesium are not replenished, it just adds insult to injury because the nerves lose their ability to control the opening and shutting of pores effectively.
And if you are already under the stress from all those crunching deadlines, the problem compounds even further.
Magnesium is a particularly important mineral because it is involved not only in nervous signal transmission but also in the ability of our nervous systems to adapt to life’s daily stresses.
This means that taking extra magnesium has a double-whammy effect on your nerves and sweat glands.
And the good news? Dark chocolate is full of the stuff.
Other foods rich in magnesium include dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Nutritionist Rick Hay told Healthista: “When we sweat, we lose a lot of magnesium.
“This may result in more tension which can lead to more sweating which, in turn, leads to more tension and even more sweating and on goes the cycle.
“So, extra magnesium and vitamin B supplementation, as well as foods rich in these are good starting points to provide your body with extra nervous system support and help you regulate your excess sweating.”
2. Avoid spice
Heavy, stodgy meals full of animal-based proteins will aggravate even more your sweating especially if you are particularly prone to it.
“The theory is that high fat, high animal-protein leads might put pressure on the bodies digestion which can heat the body up further,” says Rick.
The extra energy required to process them burns more body fuel leading to an increase in body temperature and, consequently, sweating.
Keep things light and portions small and go for plant-based meals as much as you can.
Stodgy, carbohydrate-laden meals on the other hand also increase body temperature because the excess glucose needs to be combusted and this leads to the release of energy and heat, the latter as a by-product of the process.
If you are an Indian or Korean fire-food lover but want to keep those sweat-taps closed, then you may have to restrict takeaways to a “once in a blue moon”-type events.
Spices are “thermogenic” foods that cause an increase in body temperature by raising our metabolic rates.
And yep, you guessed it, we sweat rivers to keep our bodies cool as a consequence.
On the plus side though, thermogenesis can totally turbo-charge your weight-loss goals as more fuel (carbs and fats mainly) will have to be burned in order to yield the energy you need.
So the choice here really is yours, what is your priority: keeping those sweat-taps closed or boosting your fat-burning furnace?
3. Stock up on fruits
For snacks, aim for water-dense, cooling foods like watermelon, grapes, melon, celery, cucumber and radishes.
Their high water and electrolyte content will help replenish most of which may have been lost with the heavy sweating.
Jelly is also a good alternative as it is essentially a protein matrix-trap for water molecules.
The hydrated matrix means that the water is immobilised but not frozen and therefore cannot “escape” the body as fast as liquid water would, contributing to a more prolonged hydrating effect.
And to keep the animal protein here to a minimum, go for something like agar-agar, a natural thickening agent that hardens just like gelatine but is extracted from algae.
4. Ditch coffee
Caffeine should also be consumed in moderation if you have a tendency to sweat as much as the proverbial pig.
It is a stimulant and acts on the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
In moderation, caffeine has no significant effects on sweating unless you are constitutionally prone to it.
But if you are one of those angry 17-a-day-cups-of-coffee-type coffeeholics, then it can increase sweating.
Caffeine promotes the release of adrenaline, another stress hormone that also affects our fight-or-flight response mentioned above.
Rick says: “Caffeine can raise blood pressure and can also activate sweat glands through adrenaline.”
Ditto with alcohol. You don’t have to completely eliminate it but you should definitely implement strict controls over its consumption.
“Excess alcohol intake can cause vasodilation, a widening of the blood vessels, and this can lead to increased sweating,” Rick explains.
5. Try sage
Sage has been used traditionally to help with excessive sweating and night sweats for many years.
The benefits of sage for excessive sweating have even been officially recognised by the European equivalent of the FDA in the US, the German Commission E.
Sage is also a natural source of flavonoids and polyphenols making it a great antioxidant and antibacterial.
Not only that but ursolic acid, a component of sage essential oil, has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Try taking 15-20 drops of Vogel’s Menosan £9.75 (which is a concentrated tincture of sage) once daily
6. Botox injections
In severe cases of hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating, you may need to revert to more serious actions.
Botox injections work in a similar manner to the Botox injections used for wrinkles.
MORE ON HEALTH
Botox is a nerve toxin extracted from a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum that causes muscle paralysis by preventing the release of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contraction.
It can be injected into nerves supplying sweat glands thereby stopping the tiny muscles that squeeze the glands and help release sweat.
Some people may need more than one injection but they can leave you sweat-free for up to a year.
This was republished with the permission of Healthista
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