As summer approaches every year, the mercury levels start raising outside. It not only makes us irritated but also drains us out of our energy. But what bothers us the most is the spike in our own body heat. It leads to a number of health and skin issues and some of them can even be serious enough at times. While we have absolutely nothing to do about the increasing heat outside, it is essential to cool down our own body in order to keep its heat under control. In this article, we will discuss the best natural ways to reduce body heat effectively. But before digging deep into it, let us take a look at the normal body temperature and the potential causes of feeling hot.
What is the Normal Body Temperature?
Our body temperature is, essentially, a measure of our body’s ability to generate as well as dissipate heat. The normal temperature of the human body is approximately 98.6ºF (37ºC) (1). But as the body reacts to both internal and external changes, its temperature can also be a little higher or lower accordingly. Experts say that the average body temperature of an adult is anywhere 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, when the body temperature goes beyond 100.4ºF (38ºC), it is considered to be fever (2).
How is the Body Temperature Regulated?
The hypothalamus region in our brain and our autonomic nervous system cumulatively work to regulate the temperature of our body. The hypothalamus compares the current temperature against the normal one and keeps the body within a degree or two of it by exchanging signals with the autonomic nervous system. If the body is too hot, sweating happens to cool it down. Conversely, if it is too cold, shivering happens to warm it up.
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?
There are multiple factors – both external and internal, which can increase body heat and make you feel hotter than usual. Following is a list of them:
1. Hot Environment
Whether you spend extended periods of time in very hot outside weather or stay in a hot indoor environment for the whole day, your body temperature will rise.
2. Overexposure to the Sun
Too much exposure to the sun and the resulting dehydration not only raise body heat but also pose risks of heat cramp, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke (3). Heat cramps can be healed with enough rest and rehydration. If the symptoms of heat exhaustion become worse over time, medical attention is required. Heatstroke is a very serious condition, which needs immediate hospitalization.
During exercise, our body moves more than usual, which produces lots of energy. As the body releases energy in the form of heat, it makes us feel hot.
4. Perimenopause or Menopause
Hot flashes and night sweats are very common 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 are known to impair the ability of the body 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 in which 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
In this serious genetic condition, individuals have severe reactions to certain medications and drugs. 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 own natural way to regulate 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
There are some simple remedies and tricks, which 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 is dissipated from your body. Also, your body remains hydrated and does not feel exhausted from the heat when you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
2. Indulge in Watermelon
Other than mangoes, if one waits for summertime, it is for the red and juicy fruits- the sweet and watery watermelons. Dig into a slice in the middle of the day to get some extra water, fiber and a good dose of vitamins A and C. Apply some crushed watermelon on your face too for all-round 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 some 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 most ideal remedies to counter the heat. Soak a tsp of seeds overnight in a glass of water and drink up the water the next morning. Crush the soaked seeds and apply it on your head as a hair mask for an ultimate cooling effect. You can also chew on some 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, buttermilk in 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 in reducing the effects of not just body heat but also dehydration, without adding anything to your calorie count. Drink the water from tender coconut every day to keep yourself fit and cool. (8)
8. Try Pranayama
There are forms of pranayama called Sheetali and Sheetakari pranayama which help in reducing the temperature of the core of the body. 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 aforementioned ways are helpful in bringing your body temperature significantly down, you should consult a doctor if it goes 103ºF (39.4ºC) or even higher. 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, oranges, etc. and common kitchen ingredients like onion, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and so on.
Which Food is Cold for Body?
Keeping the body hydrated is the key to cooling it down from inside. Hence, water-based foods are always considered as cold for the body.
Does Egg Increase Heat in the Body
Yes, egg increases our body heat and often causes indigestion and discomfort. Limit your egg consumption to two per day in order to stay away from bowel problems.
Is Yogurt Cold or Hot for the Body?
Yogurt has excellent cooling effects on our body, which helps in clearing out toxins efficiently. Hence, it is regarded as a 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