Earlier this week, we discussed the negative health effects of summer heat, including how it weakens your immune system. If you’re trying to stay cool and fresh during the summer heat, the food you eat can help. The following three recipes are quick, easy, and delicious — and will help your body to regulate its core temperature better and keep you energized and healthy. Let’s dig in!
1. Easy Overnight Muesli
Muesli hails from Sweeden and Switzerland, and was originally made with nuts, oats, apples, and sweetened condensed milk. While it wasn’t originally intended to be eaten in the morning, it’s a popular breakfast dish today. And it’s a powerful way to jumpstart your digestion and energize your morning.
It’s very high in various forms of fiber. Not only does that improve your gut health, but your gut health is linked with your immune system’s strength as well. Combining these various forms of fiber with the probtiocs in the yogurt amp up this meal’s beneficial aspects. Plus, it’s high in healthy fats (including plant-based omega-3 fatty acids), antioxidants, and protein.
Best of all, you can bake the museli mix in the evening when temperatures are cooler. Then, as your summer morning heats up, enjoy this cool, refreshing breakfast.
2 C rolled oats
1/2 C unsweetened coconut flakes (ideally organic)
2 tbsp shelled, roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 C slivered almonds
1/2 C golden raisins
2 tbsp raw chia seeds
2 tbsp raw hemp hearts (hemp seeds can be substituted but are less digestible)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 C of the above muesli mix
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk or oat milk
1/4 C unsweetened Greek yogurt
Optional: 1 tbsp maple syrup or organic, raw honey
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. As your oven heats up, line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Spread the rolled oats in an even layer, then bake for five minutes or until golden brown. Take out of the oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Pour the cooled oats into a big, airtight container. Add the rest of the museli ingredients, mix well, and close the container’s lid. Your muesli mix will stay fresh for approximately a month if you keep it in a dry, cool spot.
When you’re ready for breakfast, simply fill a bowl with half a cup of your museli the night before. Top with the yogurt, maple syrup, and milk. Mix, then place in your fridge to do its magic overnight.
2. Refreshing Summer Strawberry Salad
This cooling salad is the perfect pack-and-go lunch, and it makes use of some of summer’s best produce when they’re at peak ripeness and flavor (and also peak nutrition). Not only is cucumber very hydrating (it’s approximately 96% water, which is important during the summer heat), but it’s also packed with nutrients. For example, a single cucumber has more than half a day’s worth of vitamin K, plus a significant amount of immune system-boosting vitamin C.
Strawberries and mint add additional immunity-enhancing vitamins and plant-based compounds, while the pinch of cayenne pepper revs up your metabolism for the rest of the afternoon.
½ English cucumber, ideally organic and local, sliced thinly
1 pint of fresh, local organic strawberries, sliced thinly
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp no-pulp orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh mint, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Add the cucumber and strawberries to a salad bowl.
In a Mason jar or similar container, add the rest of the ingredients. Shake vigorously to make the zesty dressing.
Pour onto the cucumber and strawberries and stir briefly. Enjoy cold.
3. Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
There’s a reason that many moms cook up a batch of chicken noodle soup when children are feeling under the weather. It works, and it’s not just a proverbial old wives’ tale. “[The research] suggests that chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity,” reports one peer-reviewed scientific study. “A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.”
“Besides protein, it also provides zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients to support your immune system,” adds the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “That wide range of nutrients is important because they all work together to help your body recover.”
But wait, you might be wondering. How can a hot bowl of soup keep you fresh and cool during the summer heat? It may sound counterintuitive, but the research is clear. “Humans have long combatted the heat by eating spicy food,” explains Quartz. “And while it may seem counterproductive to chow down on some salsa while baking in the sun, there’s sound evidence to suggest it will help you cool down.” In part this is due to stimulating your heat receptors in your nerves, which in turn reduces your reaction to environmental temperatures. Plus, spicy foods encourage perspiration, which enhances your natural cooling processes.
1 tsp avocado oil
2 1/2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs and/or chicken breasts, skin removed
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 C celery, sliced
1 1/2 C carrots, sliced
1 tsp dried thyme
12 C chicken broth
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
8 oz. dried egg noodles
1/4 C chopped parsley
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Generously salt and pepper the chicken meat.
In a large stock pot, heat the oil until it’s sizzling. Add the chicken meat and cook on each side for approximately three minutes or until well-cooked. Take out the chicken and set it aside to cool, then mince or shred it after removing the bones.
In the same pot, saute the garlic and onions for a few minutes until fragrant, then add the rest of the veggies plus the thyme and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the broth, bay leaves, and turmeric (this spice doesn’t just make this dish spicy, but it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory), and also toss in the cooked chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for half an hour.
Add the egg noodles and cook until al dente (this may take just under 10 minutes). Once the noodles are done, add the lemon, cornstarch, and parsley. Stir, taste (add more salt if you’d like), and enjoy hot!