A heat wave has been baking the Midwest this week, and heat indexes in several states have risen above 100 degrees. It’s hard to keep cool with that kind of heat unless you’re indoors with central air conditioning all the time, but for many people that’s not possible.

There are tricks to staying cooler in this type of weather, and some of those tricks can be found right in your kitchen. What you eat and drink, and sometimes what you avoid eating and drinking, can help to cool you down a bit and help you to avoid dehydration. Here are some tips.

  1. Drink water. You already know this one, but it’s the number one thing in your kitchen (besides climbing into your freezer) that can help keep you cool. If you’re going to be outside, drink water before you go outside, have water with you when you’re outside, and drink some more once you get in to cool off your body and ward off dehydration.
  2. If you find yourself engaging in an activity where you’re sweating a lot and for a long period of time, you might want an electrolyte replacing drink. While I’m not an advocate of sports-type drinks for every day use (particularly for kids’ sports), they do come in handy.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both can cause you dehydrate more quickly in the heat.
  4. Try a cup of herbal decaf tea in the morning instead of caffeinated coffee. If you do have to have your morning cup of caffeinated joe, drink a couple of glasses of water after.
  5. Reach for foods that can help keep you cool. Foods with a high water content like watermelon, grapes, raw cucumber, and Gazpacho cool down your body’s temperature and help keep you hydrated.
Do you have any other tips from the kitchen that can help keep you cool during this heat wave?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

5 tips for eating and drinking your way to keeping cool
When temperatures soar, what you drink and eat can help keep you cooler.