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The six heatwave survival tips you never knew – and why milk could be the best drink option

Swap the barbeque and booze for stew and water, says dietitian Jess Willow

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People enjoying the hot weather in Seapoint, south Dublin. Photo: Michelle Devane/PA Wire

People enjoying the hot weather in Seapoint, south Dublin. Photo: Michelle Devane/PA Wire

People enjoying the hot weather in Seapoint, south Dublin. Photo: Michelle Devane/PA Wire

Amid the sweltering conditions of recent days, many people will be desperately trying to keep cool and come up with creative ways to survive the heatwave.

Met Éireann has warned that highs of 30C are to be expected over the coming days, so here are some tips to help you keep your cool.

Jess Willow from Willow Nutrition in Co Kildare said people can sometimes have a reduced appetite during the hot spell so smaller, more frequent meals can be easier to digest.

Choose milk over water

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Milk provides electrolytes. Picture posed

Milk provides electrolytes. Picture posed

Milk provides electrolytes. Picture posed

Ms Willow, who is a registered dietitian, advised people to avoid reaching for ice-cold beverages when trying to cool down and to instead try drinking a glass of milk as it helps to keep dehydration at bay.

When it comes to some quick and hydrating snacks for little ones, Ms Willow recommended giving children cold fruit such as strawberries and melon and opting for cereal with milk in the morning for added calcium.

Milk is actually very hydrating

“In regard to what we should be eating, we’d be looking at more of the hydrating foods – so typically, salads tend to have a higher water content, things like strawberries, cucumber, melon, courgette and lettuce,” she said.

“Hydrating fluids, so milk is actually very hydrating which people may not really feel like drinking on hot days, but it has electrolytes in it that will rehydrate us if we’re sweating quite a bit.”

Salty snacks

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Salty snacks can actually help us retain fluids

Salty snacks can actually help us retain fluids

Salty snacks can actually help us retain fluids

“Sometimes adding some salt to your food, obviously if you’ve got no issues with kidney function or blood pressure, can actually enable us to retain more fluid if we’re sweating quite a bit so salty snacks can help with that.

Warmer drinks

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Soup is recommended. Photo: Tony Gavin

Soup is recommended. Photo: Tony Gavin

Soup is recommended. Photo: Tony Gavin

“We would automatically be thinking that ice-cold drinks and ice creams would cool us down, but they actually tend to have the opposite effect, they’ll cool us down very temporarily but then we’ll warm up quite quickly after having them.

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“So, sometimes warmer drinks can help actually manage our internal temperature – things like soups, stews and casseroles, which we automatically wouldn’t be going to but you’re also getting some fluid from those sources.”

Ms Willow recommended that people should avoid drinking tea and coffee as they have a diuretic effect and can result in fluid loss.

BBQs and booze out

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Barbeques and booze are not recommended during extreme heat. Stock image

Barbeques and booze are not recommended during extreme heat. Stock image

Barbeques and booze are not recommended during extreme heat. Stock image

Although it is very tempting to whip out the barbeque when the sun is shining, Ms Willow advised people to limit their meat consumption where possible in order to maintain internal body temperature. “Typically, you want to sit outside and have a beer but again alcohol has a very similar effect to tea and coffee, and it can actually dehydrate us which can be quite dangerous in extreme heat if we’re sitting outside as well,” she said.

Lots of fluids

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Stock image.

Stock image.

Stock image.

“I’d make sure you’re getting at least two or two-and-a-half litres of fluid generally throughout the day and aiming for things like water is the best thing that we can be drinking throughout the day.

“Adding mint or fruit or drinking fizzy water if that’s slightly easier to take.

“The digestion of meat increases our internal temperature. Sometimes after having a roast dinner you feel a bit warm after it and it’s your internal temperature actually increasing in order to digest the meat.

“So, that might again contribute to feeling a little bit warmer if you’re having a lot of meat.”

Stay downstairs

Since hot air rises, it is often recommended to stay downstairs or on the ground floor if possible, when temperatures are at their highest.

It is also advised to close curtains, blinds and windows

It is also a good idea to eliminate any extra sources of heat such as light bulbs or computer appliances that are left running as these can generate unnecessary heat. If you can avoid using the oven or stove to prepare food, this will also reduce the amount of heat circulating.

It is also advised to close curtains, blinds and windows during the day to keep the hot air out while opening windows at night to let the cool air back in before bed.


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