Summer’s well and truly here, and there’s no doubt that the heat is oppressive. But even if you’re doing everything you can to stay cool by traveling with ice packs or staying indoors with the air conditioning on full blast, you may still be sweating excessively because of your diet.
Yes, it’s not just spicy foods or hot soup that can increase your sweating. Read on to discover six foods that could make you sweat more.
1. Hot dogs
Whether you grill them at a Fourth of July barbecue or grab one on the beach boardwalk, hot dogs are a national favorite, especially during the summer. But according to Cesar Sauza, MS, a registered dietitian nutritionist at NCHC.org, eating processed meats like hot dogs could trigger excessive sweating. “They’re likely to cause sweating because of their high sodium content, so our bodies need to release the extra sodium through perspiration,” explains Sauza, adding that hot dogs also contain a lot of saturated fat, which “increases our body’s workload.”
Before you grab a handful of potato chips at your next backyard family gathering, remember that this snack is also a processed food with high sodium content. “Chips contribute to water retention in the body,” says Taylor Osbaldeston, RHN, a certified holistic nutritionist and nutrition manager at Durand Integrated Health Group. As with hot dogs, the excess sodium in potato chips “leads to bloating and increased body temperature, which causes the body to sweat to regulate its internal heat,” Osbaldeston explains.
There’s nothing more refreshing than coconut, whether in the form of fresh coconut water or something more indulgent like coconut ice cream. But coconuts are high in fat, according to Kieran Sheridan, a physical therapy expert and founder of GulfPhysio. “Coconuts are a high-fat food, which means they’re more likely to make you sweat when you’re exposed to the heat,” Sheridan explains. “That’s because as your body heats up, it begins to break down fat cells and release their stored energy in the form of heat.”
4. Dark chocolate
If you’re trying to indulge yourself while staying on the healthy side, you might be drawn to a bit of dark chocolate. It has health benefits, but of all the chocolates, dark chocolate also contains the most caffeine, according to Cocoelectric. This can be a problematic trait during the summer, shares Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and founder of Candida Diet. “Foods containing caffeine can potentially lead to increased sweating due to their stimulating effect on the body,” she says. According to Richards, caffeine can temporarily increase your heart rate, metabolic rate and blood pressure, which can raise your body temperature. “As the body works to cool itself, sweating is triggered as a natural cooling mechanism,” she explains. “Although the effect of caffeine on sweating varies from person to person, it’s not uncommon for people to sweat more after consuming caffeine-rich products like dark chocolate.”
Other sweet treats can also increase your sweating, regardless of their caffeine content. In fact, most candies contain a large amount of added sugar, which is also a major trigger for sweating, according to Osbaldeston. “Sugary foods cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, which leads to an increase in metabolic heat production,” she says. “To dissipate this heat, the body triggers sweating.”
6. Spicy foods
This one may seem obvious, but it bears repeating. And while you may know full well that spicy foods make you sweat, you may not know why. Michael May, FRCS, medical director and senior surgeon at London’s Wimpole Clinic, explains that chillies contain an ingredient called capsaicin. It’s what warms your mouth, and the rest of your body. “Capsaicin triggers nerve receptors and raises body temperature, increasing sweating as a natural cooling response,” May explains.
If you want to avoid excessive sweating this summer, it might be a good idea to cut back on certain foods. Avoid hot dogs and potato chips, which are high in sodium. Limit your consumption of coconut and dark chocolate, both of which contain stimulants that can raise your body temperature. And of course, moderate your intake of sugary sweets. By taking care of your diet, you may be able to spend a cooler, more pleasant summer.
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