With the advent of summer each year, external temperatures soar, causing irritation and sapping our energy. The most concerning aspect is the rise in body heat, which can result in various health and skin issues, occasionally reaching severe levels. While we have no control over the external heat, finding ways to cool down our bodies and manage internal heat becomes crucial. This article explores the top natural methods to reduce body heat. Before delving into these techniques, let’s examine average body temperature and potential causes for feeling excessively warm.
What is the Normal Body Temperature?
Our body temperature measures our body’s ability to generate and dissipate heat. The average temperature of the human body is approximately 98.6ºF (37ºC) (1). But as the body reacts to internal and external changes, its temperature can also be slightly higher or lower. Experts say an adult’s average body temperature is between 97.8°F and 99.0°F. It varies by up to 0.9ºF (0.5ºC) based on the time of the day and is also influenced by seasons, individuals, and intense physical activity. However, it is considered a fever when the body temperature exceeds 100.4ºF (38ºC) (2).
How is the Body Temperature Regulated?
The coordination between the hypothalamus region in our brain and the autonomic nervous system plays a crucial role in regulating our body temperature. The hypothalamus constantly compares the current temperature with the normal range, maintaining the body within a degree or two by communicating with the autonomic nervous system. When the body is too hot, sweating occurs as a cooling mechanism, while shivering occurs to generate warmth if the body is too cold. This intricate process ensures the body remains within the optimal temperature range for well-being.
There are conditions like heat stress in which the body heat rises due to different factors. It causes the body temperature to become significantly higher than normal.
What are the Potential Causes of Feeling Hot?
Multiple external and internal factors can increase body heat and make you feel hotter than usual. Following is a list of them:
1. Hot Environment
Your body temperature will rise whether you spend extended periods in scorching outside weather or stay indoors all day.
2. Overexposure to the Sun
Too much exposure to the Sun and the resulting dehydration raise body heat and pose risks of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke (3). Heat cramps can be healed with enough rest and rehydration. However, medical attention is required if the symptoms of heat exhaustion worsen over time. Heatstroke is a severe condition that needs immediate hospitalization.
Our body moves more than usual during exercise, producing lots of energy. As the body releases energy in heat, it makes us feel hot.
4. Perimenopause or Menopause
Hot flashes and night sweats are prevalent symptoms of perimenopause and menopause in women. They also raise the temperature of the body temporarily.
Most medications can elevate our body temperature significantly. Diuretics, beta-blockers, anticholinergic, succinylcholine, neuroleptic drugs, and inhaled anesthetics impair the body’s ability to lose heat through sweating. On the other hand, hormonal treatments and recreational drugs like amphetamines, methamphetamines, cocaine, etc., trigger excess heat production in the body by increasing the metabolic rate.
6. Thyroid Storm
It is a life-threatening medical condition where the thyroid hormone becomes excess in the body. It usually occurs after infection, surgery, or pregnancy and leads to a very high body temperature along with rapid heartbeat, nausea, abdominal pain, jaundice, etc. (4)
7. Malignant Hyperthermia
Individuals have severe reactions to certain medications and drugs in this serious genetic condition. Some of the most common symptoms of malignant hyperthermia include extremely high body temperature, irregular heartbeat, acute muscle spasms, etc. (5)
Sometimes, our body temperature also goes up in response to germ attacks. It helps the body successfully combat invading illnesses.
How Does the Body Reduce Excess Heat?
Our body has its natural way of regulating temperature by managing current heat. Typically, it lowers the temperature by reducing excess heat in the following ways (6):
- Vaporization: Releasing heat through sweating
- Radiation: Dissipating heat into the atmosphere
- Convection: Reducing heat through the cooler air surrounding the body
- Conduction: Transferring heat to adjacent cold water or ice
Read Also – 12 Ways to Get Your Skin Ready for Summer Days
10 Effective Tips to Reduce Body Heat Naturally
Some simple remedies and tricks can help you beat additional body heat naturally and effectively. Check them out below:
1. Drink Lots of Water
This one is a no-brainer. The more water you drink, the more heat you dissipate. Also, when you drink at least eight glasses of water daily, your body remains hydrated and does not feel exhausted from the heat.
2. Indulge in Watermelon
Dig into a slice in the middle of the day for extra water, fiber, and a good dose of vitamins A and C. Apply some crushed watermelon on your face for all-around cooling.
3. Try Honeydew Melon
Honeydew melon, just like watermelon, is loaded with water. It is also rich in potassium, along with being a low-calorie fruit. Either have slices of the melon or combine it with chilled milk and sugar to make a refreshing, cold drink.
Intake of other hydrating foods like strawberries, cantaloupes, etc. can also lower your body heat. Cucumber, celery, cauliflower, and other such vegetables are also very high in water content.
4. Opt for Cardamom
Cardamom is a spice that is known for its cooling effects. Boil a pod of cardamom in two cups of water and sieve and cool the water. Drink it up at regular intervals to reduce body heat.
5. Choose Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are one of the ideal remedies to counter the heat. Soak a tsp of seeds overnight in a glass of water and drink the water the following day. Crush the soaked seeds and apply them to your head as a hair mask for an ultimate cooling effect. You can also chew on soaked fenugreek seeds to bring down body heat. (7)
6. Avoid Spicy Foods
Spices add heat to the food. So, to bring down the body heat, avoid spicy foods. Think clean eating and consume foods that are easy on the digestive system- foods with lots of fiber and water content. Try incorporating leafy vegetables, cucumber, and buttermilk into your diet. Cut down on the consumption of sour foods and nuts.
7. Drink Tender Coconut Water
Nothing beats the heat like sipping on a tender coconut. The water in the coconut is rich in vitamins and minerals and helps reduce the effects of body heat and dehydration without adding anything to your calorie count. Drink the water from tender coconut daily to keep yourself fit and fabulous. (8)
8. Try Pranayama
There are forms of Pranayama called Sheetali and Sheetakari Pranayama, which help reduce the temperature of the body’s core. It involves inhaling cool breath through the mouth and exhaling through the nose. The Pranayama helps cool down the body and also alleviates stress.
9. Consume Barley Water
Boil two tbsp of barley in two cups of water for about half an hour. Cool this liquid and sip on it at regular intervals. This will considerably reduce body heat.
10. Apply Sandalwood and Fuller’s Earth Paste
Both sandalwood and fuller’s earth have cooling properties. Make a paste of sandalwood powder or fuller’s earth with some raw milk and apply it all over the body before your bath. This helps in cooling down the body immediately.
When Should You See a Doctor?
While the ways mentioned above help significantly decrease your body temperature, you should consult a doctor if it goes 103ºF (39.4ºC) or even higher. In addition, if you experience symptoms like difficulty breathing, vomiting, light sensitivity, drowsiness, vomiting, dehydration, stiff neck, rashes, infections, etc., along with high body temperature, visit your doctor immediately to avoid further complications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which Foods Increase Body Heat?
Foods that increase body heat can lead to irritation in the stomach. These include fruits like apples, mangoes, and oranges, as well as shared kitchen ingredients like onion, ginger, garlic, black pepper, etc.
Which Food is Cold for the Body?
Keeping the body hydrated is the key to cooling it down from the inside. Hence, water-based foods are always considered cold for the body.
Does Egg Increase Heat in the Body
Yes, eggs increase our body heat and often cause indigestion and discomfort. Limit your egg consumption to two per day to avoid bowel problems.
Is Yogurt Cold or Hot for the Body?
Yogurt has excellent cooling effects on our body, which helps efficiently clear out toxins. Hence, it is regarded as cold food only.
- “Temperature,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “How is Body Temperature Regulated and What is Fever?“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness,” CDC.gov
- “Thyroid Storm,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Malignant Hyperthermia,” health.harvard.edu
- “Physiology, Temperature Regulation,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Rehydration after Exercise with Fresh Young Coconut Water, Carbohydrate-Electrolyte Beverage and Plain Water,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Fenugreek: A review on Its Nutraceutical Properties and Utilization in Various Food Products,” ScienceDirect.com