It's hot. You're hungry. Eat these foods to stay cool and hydrated.

Here's what to eat when it's hot outside, according to experts. (Getty Creative)
Here's what to eat when it's hot outside, according to experts. (Getty Creative)

When sunny days turn into scorchers, consider making tweaks to your diet to keep your body functioning at its best. The foods you choose during these hotter months can help you avoid the dangerous effects of dehydration and keep you more comfortable. The good news? A lot of these foods are ones you may gravitate toward in the summer anyway.

🍦 Do cold foods actually keep us cool?

While you may feel temporary relief eating ice cream or slurping a slushy on a hot day, your body isn’t actually cooling down, registered dietitian ​​Christopher Mohr tells Yahoo Life.

“Eating cold foods can make you feel cooler for a bit by lowering the temperature in your mouth and throat,” Mohr explains. “It's a nice quick fix on a hot day, but it doesn't change your overall body temperature much.”

The reason for this is because your body fights to maintain its internal temperature, a process known as homeostasis. That’s why your body causes you to sweat when you are warm (in order to cool your body down) and shivers when it’s cold (to generate heat).

Most of the time, a hot day is unlikely to raise your body temperature, which typically happens when you are fighting off an illness or infection. However, prolonged exposure to high temperatures, intense physical activity or dehydration can cause our body’s cooling system to become overloaded, altering our internal temperature. This is what causes heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Ice cream, or any food, is not the cure — and you should seek out medical attention ASAP if you are suffering from symptoms of heat illness.

🍉 What foods are good for hot days?

Cold foods might seem like the way to go, but the reality is that the temperature of your food is a lot less important than what’s in it — specifically, water.

According to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), the daily recommendation for water consumption is nine 8-ounce glasses (2.2 liters) for women and thirteen 8-ounce glasses (3 liters) for men.

This recommendation, however, increases when it’s hot outside, as you need to replenish your fluids. Nicholas Rush, registered dietitian at Fay, tells Yahoo Life that while water is essential, “certain foods can give your hydration a serious boost.” Rush says nutrient-dense foods that also contain a lot of water include:

  • Watermelon

  • Cucumbers

  • Celery

  • Strawberries

  • Spinach

  • Kiwi

  • Oranges

  • Grapefruit

  • Gazpacho

  • Grapes

While they’re not quite so nutrient rich, you can also snack on a snow cone or an ice pop due to their high water contents. And, if you want an extra-chilly version of the above, consider snacking on the frozen version of some of these treats — frozen grapes, for example, are basically bite-size popsicles.

🚰 What else to consider in your diet when it’s hot outside

There aren’t many foods you should avoid in the heat. However, alcoholic beverages are not ideal for when it’s hot, as alcohol is a diuretic, which can lead to more water loss.

You may have heard that it’s not enough to just drink water in order to stay hydrated. Electrolytes are also important — and typically, we get them throughout the day from our diets. It’s only when we really need extra hydration (such as doing intense physical exercise or spending a lot of time outside in the heat) that supplementing with electrolytes would be necessary.

Certain foods are naturally rich in electrolytes — and if you need a hydration boost, Rush says, they’re a good idea to chow down on. That includes:

  • Bananas, which are packed with potassium

  • Avocado, which offers potassium and magnesium

  • Spinach, which has magnesium and calcium

  • Dairy products, which include calcium and potassium (yes, ice cream and fro-yo count!)

🥗 What should I eat when it’s too hot to cook?

Maybe you’re inside and staying as cool as possible, but the idea of turning on your oven is a hard pass. Brandy Zachary, a functional medicine practitioner, tells Yahoo Life you can opt for “light and refreshing meals that require minimal preparation” — and, of course, sweat. That includes:

  • Salads: A variety of salads with water-rich vegetables, lean proteins like grilled chicken or tofu and healthy fats such as avocado can be satisfying and hydrating

  • Sandwiches: Cold sandwiches with lean meats, cheese and plenty of fresh vegetables are easy and nutritious

  • Wraps: Whole-grain wraps filled with hummus, veggies and a protein source make for a quick and healthy meal

  • Fruit bowls: A mix of hydrating fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe and berries can be a refreshing and easy-to-prepare meal