Totally Cool Baby!
How to keep cool Saudi style: Many of you know or don’t know that I lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for five years; from June of 1996 until January of 2001. Most wives left for the States during the hot summers where temperatures would reach above 130F. I chose to stay. The Saudi newspapers never reported the temps above 125F because it was in the contracts that the construction workers would get the day off. So if you want to survive the summer heat like a desert camel, please read on.
- Keep covered from head to toe. Saudi men wore white full length, loose-fitting, long-sleeved silk robes. Women wore full-length, long-sleeved black silk robes. Both men and women covered their heads. Both the cotton and silk fabrics “breathed” which allowed air to be exchanged and remain cool to the skin. While dressing this way was part of the cultural choice it was also an adaptive quality based on the local climate.
- Stay well hydrated. Water is a natural blood thinner. Water also supports our body’s ability to regulate temperature and our moods. Drinking ice cold water actually may make your body work harder to regulate the temperature. Think about it; ice water is at an unnatural temperature for the body so the body responds by trying to increase the temperature. While sometimes a glass of ice water makes you feel better at the time, tepid or slightly cool water works best to maintain a healthy body temperature. It’s best to drink moderate amounts of water frequently. Drinking fountains were everywhere in Saudi and outside all housing compounds for the bedouins, or desert nomads, to have access to water.
- Adjust your activity. Saudi’s were night people pretty much year round but especially in the summer. So their culture was to sleep during the summer heat and shop and dine out during the cool evenings. Many businesses were opened from 4pm until midnight during the summer.
- A little less fat. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat but it does rev up your metabolism in a healthy way. Eating fat helps your body ward off cancer as well. Going a little lighter on fat during the summer will help keep the body cool.
- Eat high water content foods. Salads with vegetables are a great way to help the body keep cool while meeting your nutritional needs. Fruits are generally high in water and fiber but limit consumption to 2-3 a day since they are high in natural “sugar”.
- Modify physical activity. Limit outdoor physical activity to the early morning and later evening when temps are at their coolest. If your employment requires outdoor work then apply all of the other tips listed here.
- Air conditioning. A/C is a double-edged sword so to speak. On one hand it keeps us cool in the house, office, stores and car but at the same time, it makes the adjustment of going outside in the hot temps all the worse. What about fresh air too? Keeping the A/C off or at a slightly higher cooling temperature will help the body better adjust to hot temps. Sleeping with a ceiling fan going and the windows open is a way to enjoy the cooler nighttime temps while getting fresh air.
- Keep your cool mentally. Tempers tend to flare more in the excessive heat then during cooler temps. People with hypothyroidism also tend to have difficulty maintaining a steady body temperature and have difficulty in extreme hot and cold temps. Knowing how extreme heat affects you can allow you to adjust and recalculate your moods and your food and lifestyle choices and adaptations.
Even with all of our so called modern amenities we still have to make adjustments to our food and lifestyle habits to keep us well and prevent illness no matter the climate. If you want to achieve total health and happiness contact me now for a free 30 minute consultation. In the meantime, keep cool!