Dry heat vs. humidity: what's better for your body?

- The air is thick, it's summer, which do you prefer a dry heat or tropical heat? It does make a difference in how your body cools itself.

When people say, "Oh, it's 106 degrees in Vegas, but it's a dry heat," they're right. To your body, a dry 106 feels better than a balmy, humid, 91 degrees. This is because the body can easily cool itself with sweat, which evaporates quickly off the skin into dry air.

Saliva, along with sweat, will evaporate quickly in dry air, especially if you are exercising and breathing hard. Many endurance athletes report feeling far more thirsty in dry heat than in humid heat.

When the air is full of moisture, sweat has a harder time evaporating. The evaporation is a major way that the body cools itself; thus, high humidity levels hinder the body's ability to cool off.

Of course, overheating is possible no matter where you are, and has dangerous risks associated, like heat stroke.

Foods that are good for quenching thirst include those with a high moisture content like oranges, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes and watermelon.

On the flip side, avoid foods high in sodium, like pizza on an extremely hot day. Yes you need salt to stay hydrated, but you don't need much, and too much sodium isn't good.

"Actually, when you eat high sodium foods, you retain the water, but it's going into your vessels," says St. John Providence health coach Shannon Pearce. "Which causes you to have high blood pressure, increased pressure on your heart."

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories