Stay energized in the heat

In high temperatures, the vascular system dilates, and the body’s heat-producing systems slow down, leaving one feeling sluggish.

by Dr. Jane Hendricks — 

Whether it is from wet heat or oven-dry heat, people may feel a drop in their energy levels as the temperature rises. The vascular system dilates, and the body’s heat-producing systems slow down, leaving one feeling sluggish.

The appetite usually decreases due to the drop in caloric needs as the metabolism slows down. It is wise to listen to the body and act accordingly. There is no need to feel like you are going to starve to death if you find yourself eating much less in the summer than in the winter.

Summer is yang, while winter is yin. Since there is plenty of yang to go around, it is not necessary to eat much of the heavier yang energy foods. Meat, bread and beans belong to the winter. It is not that these foods can never be eaten in the summer, just not as much.

More of the juicy fruits such as pineapple, peaches, plums, grapes and berries should be eaten in the summer months. Fruits like apples and pears are better in the cooler months. Your local farmers’ markets will demonstrate what is seasonal by their prices and selections.

To keep your energy up, eat light, digestible foods. By doing this, the digestive system does not constantly rob energy from all of the other systems for its digestion processes. Do not eat late at night; it is better to retire with empty intestines. You will notice a difference in how you wake up in the morning.

Wake up a little earlier, when it is still cool, and give yourself a few moments of deep breathing outside before being cooped up indoors all day long. It is vital to the body to get a few moments of fresh air every day. Between 4 and 5 a.m. is the best time to do this. As you inhale, tense all the muscles and hold. Then exhale deeply as you release the tension. Do this several times before returning inside.

Finally, as we all should know, it is important to keep your fluids up. We live in the desert, so this is especially true for Arizona residents. It is best to have an herbal formula or fresh squeezed lemon in your water, which mimics your bodily fluids. Do not drink sweet fruit juices or sports drinks that are loaded with indigestible isolated minerals and sugar.

Keep your beverages simple and pure. Even if you just brew up some diluted green tea and drink that all day, it is better than drinking plain water or sweet commercial beverages. You also do not need to waste your money on all of the mineralized waters out there.

Again, isolated minerals are difficult for the body to absorb. Use nature’s plants like lemons, limes or the herbs in teas to mineralize your water. Breathe deeply, and soon it will be fall again.


Dr. Jane Hendricks has a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and teaches individuals how to care for themselves with whole food, yoga and meditation., or 602-957-0876.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 3, June/July 2010.

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