Does Hot Weather Affect Digestion?


Written by: CDHF

Updated: December 6th, 2022

As summer starts to ramp up, we find ourselves involved in more outdoor activities in the heat!

BBQ’s, pool parties and patio drinks become commonplace and we find ourselves sweating much more than we do in the chillier months! Often times at outdoor events like these we sometimes ask ourselves, does hot weather affect digestion?

During these occasions, there are several factors that can come into play that may affect our digestive systems. Some common occurrences that may impact your regular digestive patterns are things like food left out at events that may have gone bad in the heat, dehydration, and overexertion.

If you’re someone who already struggles with their digestive health, summer-time heat waves can be a nightmare. So we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you navigate these sweltering summer months with ease!

Avoid Dehydration

One of the reasons it seems like hot weather affects digestion is due to our tendency to become dehydrated in the summer. Our bodies are constantly trying to keep us cool during the hotter months. To do so, we sweat, which is quite literally our bodies expelling water through our skin. To replenish, we must be conscious of our water intake and make sure that we’re not allowing ourselves to become dehydrated.

One great trick to follow is to make sure you’re drinking water at a moderate pace before your body starts sending warning signs that you’re thirsty. This method will prevent you from chugging water to quench your thirst, which can lead to bloating. You can also make drinking water more fun by adding fruit or cucumber to it to add some flavor! Dehydration can also lead to other complications such as constipation and in more extreme cases of heatstroke, even nausea. So in this respect, does hot weather affect digestion? Yes.

Slow down!

If it’s so hot out the idea of going anywhere fast makes your head spin, the same can likely be said for your eating habits! Slow down! Your body is spending a great deal of energy in the heat to try and keep your internal temperature down. That energy is diverted from doing other things, like digestion. So eating slower gives your digestive system time to keep up with you. Cut your food up into smaller pieces and make sure you’re chewing each bite thoroughly. Eating too quickly also increases the probability that you’ll swallow a great gulp of air with each bite, which leads to bloating. Nobody wants to feel bloated on a beautiful day at the beach!

iced drinks

Practice safe food habits

BBQ’s are the place to be in the summertime, especially on lazy days at the cottage. However, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that NO food is left out for more than four hours at a time. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Make sure you’re thoroughly washing any veggies and leafy greens. Don’t leave dairy products out in the sun to sweat and bread bacteria.

This all seems like common sense until someone throws a big backyard bash and prepares a beautiful charcuterie board for everyone to enjoy. It’s all fun and games until the sun heats the meats and cheeses past their safe temperature and everyone goes home with food poisoning!

Just be conscious and aware of food safety protocols, especially when it’s hot enough out to fry an egg!

Fibre up!

Even in the winter, most Canadians are barely even getting 50% of their daily fibre intake, however, it’s all the more important to make sure you’re fibering up during the hotter months. During a heatwave, when digestion slows down a bit, we want to give ourselves an edge by helping things along with high fibre snacks! Eat plenty of raw, dark green vegetables. You can even treat yourself to some delicious summer fruits to help you reach your fibre goals. Raspberries are a great high fibre option, as well as delicious exotic fruits such as mangoes and papaya.

Exercise, but do so in moderation

Hey, we love a jog by the lake as much as the next person, but if there’s extreme heat or humidity warning, it might be a better idea to hit the treadmill in the gym that day instead! A high-intensity workout at high noon will most certainly put you at risk of heat sickness or stroke. Vomiting, dizziness, and nausea are good indications that you may already be well on your way to heatstroke. So if you start to experience these symptoms, head inside ASAP and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid exercise altogether. Try some low-intensity activities on off-peak sun hours to really help get things moving along your digestive tract. Going for a nice walk, for example, is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but still making sure that you’re getting some exercise without overdoing it!

So, overall yet, hot weather can affect digestion, but if you listen to your body and are serious about food safety, you will cruise through the hot weather without a hitch!

See you at the beach!

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