4 important tips to get you through summer, the Chinese way

1. Take an umbrella

Chinese people, and especially women, don’t like to be tanned and are holding an umbrella against the sun. At first, I didn’t understand this habit. Why not just put on sunscreen? But now, that I live here already many years and know how hot and humid summers are, I understand. Sunscreen doesn’t help: within a couple of minutes you sweat so much that the sunscreen washes off you. So, now, I find myself holding an umbrella against the sunshine as well. With all the skin cancer warnings and because of the beauty feature (you don’t want to get wrinkles), the umbrella doesn’t look that bad at all!

2. Take your flask everywhere

You see every Chinese with the inevitable flask filled with water or tea. It is good that you have shops everywhere where you can buy water, but if you are on a hike and forgot to bring some extra water, then the habit of having a flask with you is a lifesaver. You need to stay hydrated enough all the time, so you need to drink a lot of water. Before, I didn’t take my flask with me, and sometimes I just forgot to buy water, because I didn’t feel thirsty. But, you can’t wait until you are thirsty. You have to drink enough throughout the day. Water is the most important thing your body needs. Now, that I have the habit to take my flask with me everywhere, I notice that I drink more. Because I carry it, I am always conscious about my water intake, so I sip from it every 15 min. When my flask is empty, I refill it at a refill station (in China, you have certain areas in stations or even just public toilets where you can refill your flask for free) or I buy a water bottle and refill my flask with that.

3. Take a nap after lunch

Chinese do this every day, all year round. Before, I would get myself a cup of coffee, but in this hot weather that’s not a good idea. Coffee is a diuretic, so it will dehydrate you more. Instead, you can take a nap after lunch for about 15 to 30 min. It’s good for digestion and it will freshen you up. This hot weather makes you less energetic, especially during the hottest hour of the day, which is around lunch time. Many hot countries hold a siesta. Time for the rest of the world to follow their example and leave the coffee, or other stimulants, aside.

4. Eat or drink to cool your body down

Chinese still know which foods will heat your body and which ones cool you down.

Our diet is full of saturated fat, sugar, salt and processed food, as we hear or see every day in the media now. We have to cut down on them to stay healthy and to lose weight. But, why is that exactly? The main cause of weight gain and of most stress-related diseases is chronic inflammation.

What the Chinese call, heat in the body, so after we have eaten some food that heats our body (read: cause inflammation), we have to eat some food to cool it down. In summer, watermelon is the number one fruit to cool our body down, but mainly all natural food is good for cooling our body down. So, a diet rich in vegetables and fruit is the best for your body. Not only will you lose weight (or just stay on a healthy weight), you will feel more energetic and you will beat your stress and disease more easily.

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