It sounds counter intuitive, I know.
When the weather turns the corner and it starts to really heat up, we all intuitively reach for that ice cold glass of water, an ice pop, or cold meal. It'll help cool us off, we think, we're sure of it. But, what if we're wrong? What if what we thought was a give for the last number of years was not true? What if I told you that there's a better way? Well, there is!
You might be surprised to hear it, but eating a Hot meal, or drinking a Hot drink, on a hot day can actually make you feel cooler. Yes, it's true!
One explanation is found in how our blood moves through our bodies to control temperature. This can be 'gamed' to a degree by raising our internal temperatures a degree or two by eating and drinking Hot foods, forcing our bodies to react to the increased internal temperature.
Loss of heat from the body chiefly occurs at the surface, and the device for controlling it is in the skin. There are two ways in which the skin controls the escape of heat from the body. One is by regulating the amount of blood that comes out into the skin. The blood carries the heat from the warm interior of the body to the surface, where it is cooled off in the skin. The temperature of the skin is always much lower than the internal temperature and seldom rises above 92 degrees or 93 degrees. After cooling, the blood is carried back to the interior of the body. In this way the blood equalizes the body temperature, and keeps it from becoming too hot in some parts and not warm enough in others.
When the body is exposed to cold, the blood vessels of the skin contract and shut out the blood, allowing only a small quantity to pass through. The blood is thus kept in the warm interior of the body. When the blood becomes too hot, the blood vessels of the skin open up and allow a large amount of blood to pass out into the skin where it becomes cooled. This is the cause of the flushing of the face and sometimes even of the whole body, when it is exposed to a warm atmosphere.
Through these changes in the circulation of the blood in the skin, the heat loss may be increased to three or four times the usual amount or lessened to the same extent.
Blood flow to the skin, feet and hands first increases to transfer heat to our periphery; then, if excess heat still present it is carried away from our skin when sweat turns into water vapor.
"Yeah, but now I'm sweating, and that makes me feel hotter", you say. Not so.
Dr Ollie Jay, who heads up of the Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory at the University of Sydney, has for many years been studying with how humans regulate their body temperature under different conditions. His research has shown that if you consume a hot drink or hot meal the overall amount of heat stored in the body is less than if you have a cold one. His research says that the cooling effect of sweating outweighs the added heat. He goes on to say, "The main thing is that our bodies shut sweating down when drinking a cold drink".
So, you see, eating a Hot meal on a Hot day will actually push our bodies into 'cooling mode' which will cool you down faster and more effectively than consuming a cold meal or drink, which will shut down the same 'cooling mode'.
It may sound counter intuitive but billions of tea drinkers can't be wrong! So go ahead and Lava your Hot lunch!