6 Foods That Are Making You Sweat More, Experts Say
You could be pumping up your perspiration with these sweat-inducing foods.
Calling it a hot summer might be an understatement. A dangerous heat wave is again stretching across the U.S., bringing record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures to many parts of the country. But even if you're pulling out all the stops right now to keep cool—like traveling with ice packs or staying indoors with the air conditioning blasting—you could still be sweating excessively because of your diet. Yes, it's not just spicy food or hot soup that can up your perspiration. Read on to discover six foods that could be making you sweat more.
Whether you're grilling them at a Fourth of July cookout or picking one up on the beach boardwalk, hot dogs are a national favorite, especially over the summer. But as Cesar Sauza, MS, a registered dietitian nutritionist at NCHC.org, explains, eating processed meats like hot dogs might kickstart some perspiration.
"They are likely to cause sweating due to high sodium levels, leading to our body needing to release the extra sodium through sweat," Sauza says, adding that hot dogs also contain a lot of saturated fat, which "increases the workload on our body."
Before you grab a handful of potato chips at your next backyard gathering, remember that this snack is also a processed food with high sodium levels.
"Chips contribute to water retention in the body," Taylor Osbaldeston, RHN, a registered holistic nutritionist and nutrition lead for Durand Integrated Health Group, tells Best Life.
As with hot dogs, the excess sodium in chips "leads to bloating and an elevation in body temperature, prompting the body to sweat in an effort to regulate its internal heat," Osbaldeston says.
There are few things more refreshing than coconut, whether that's in the form of fresh coconut water or something more indulgent, like coconut ice cream. But coconuts have a high fat content, according to Kieran Sheridan, a physiotherapy expert and founder of GulfPhysio.
"Coconuts are a high-fat food, which means they are going to be more likely to make you sweat when you're out in the heat," Sheridan explains. "This is because as your body heats up, it starts to break down fat cells and release their stored energy as heat."
If you're trying to enjoy a sweet treat while still staying on the healthier side, you might gravitate toward a little dark chocolate. It does have health benefits, but of all the chocolates, dark chocolate also contains the most caffeine, according to Cocoelectric.
That can be a troublesome trait during the summer, Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and founder of the Candida Diet, shares.
"Caffeine-containing foods potentially lead to increased sweating due to their stimulating effect on the body," she says.
According to Richards, caffeine can temporarily raise your heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood rate—all of which can elevate your body temperature.
"As the body works to cool itself down, sweating is triggered as a natural cooling mechanism," she explains. "While the effect of caffeine on sweating varies among individuals, it is not uncommon for people to experience increased perspiration after consuming caffeine-rich products like dark chocolate."
Other sweet treats can increase your perspiration, too, regardless of their caffeine content. In fact, most candy has a high amount of added sugar, which is also a major sweat trigger, according to Osbaldeston.
"Sugary foods cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels, leading to a rise in metabolic heat production," she says. "To dissipate this heat, the body initiates sweating."
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This one might seem a bit obvious, but it bears repeating. And even if you're well aware that spicy food gets your sweat glands fired up, you may not know why.
Michael May, FRCS, medical director and principal surgeon of the London-based Wimpole Clinic, explains that chili peppers contain an ingredient called capsaicin. That's what heats up your mouth—and the rest of your body.
"Capsaicin triggers nerve receptors and raises body temperature, increasing sweating as a natural cooling response," May says.