When your body’s built-in thermostat—in your hypothalamus—senses your core temperature is over 98.6° F, you sweat. As each drop of moisture evaporates, it cools you. Since spicy foods raise your internal temperature and make you perspire, eating them provides cooling sensations. But if you’re looking to chill out, other foods can turn down the heat without the pepper burn.
Water-rich foods slow digestion (so your body isn’t working so hard), rehydrate you (so you have more sweat) and—if you pick the right ones—replenish minerals and vitamins you lose through perspiration. Our favorites include:
Watermelon: It’s 90% water and delivers 25% of your daily vitamin C, along with lycopene, which is wonderful for your arteries and maybe your prostate.
Cantaloupe: Every cup contains 17% of your daily potassium need, which is great for post-exercise muscle care.
Other watery fruits like grapes, oranges, apples, cherries, and cucumbers dish up a cooling blend of water and nutrients.