Heat exhaustion can lead to deadly condition – five foods to help prevent it

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion to look out for

Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to excessive loss of water and salt, usually through sweating.

This is caused through intense exercise in the heat or going into extreme heat when not acclimated to it.

Those who suffer from high blood pressure and the elderly are at a greater risk of experiencing heat exhaustion.

The NHS lists signs of heart exhaustion as:

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • Excessive sweating and skin becoming pale and clammy or getting a heat rash, but a Change in skin colour can be harder to see on brown and black skin
  • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • Fast breathing or heartbeat
  • A high temperature
  • Being very thirsty
  • Weakness

If these symptoms are ignored, it could lead to heat stroke. Other than the obvious, ‘drink plenty of water throughout the day’, Jess Hillard, sports nutritionist from Warrior, shared some foods which can help to keep you cool during the warmer weather and prevent heat exhaustion.


Specifically, coconut water, where electrolytes are found within.

Jess explained: “They help to maintain fluid levels inside the body cells and are responsible for delivering water to where it is needed most. This helps keep us hydrated which subsequently improves skin health, regulates body temperature, and supports joint health.

“If you’re doing a workout this summer or know you will be out in the heat for a while, be prepared to grab that coconut water to feel refreshed and hydrated after.”

Frozen protein snacks

Freezing protein bars is a great way to create a cooling snack with your favourite bars, said Jess.

She continued: “Cool down and help your muscles recover in one hit! I would recommend freezing the Warrior CRUNCH bars, it’s a great option for summer and gives a delicious ice cream-like texture.

“Other great ideas include adding protein powder to fruit smoothies. Making smoothie bowls is also a great idea, and these can be topped with the Birthday Cake Warrior CRUNCH bar, which contain 20g of high-quality protein to give you an extra protein boost, whilst also being extremely tasty (available to buy from www.teamwarrior.com, Warrior CRUNCH, RRP 16.99 for a pack of 12).”

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Watermelon is 92 percent water, making it a great option to stay hydrated and prevent heat exhaustion, said Jess, possibly without even realising, and enjoying the deliciously satisfying fruit.

She added: “A great way to eat it is by having it cooled down in the fridge, with some lime juice squeezed over the top.”


Like watermelon, cucumber has a high water content, making it a great option to keep hydrated and cool in the hot weather, with 95 percent cucumber water, said Jess.

She recommended: “Add it to a glass of water, smoothies, make a fresh cucumber salad or have it by itself. A great summer addition to meals are cucumber and strawberry salads, don’t knock it until you try it.”


As a herb, mint can be used in cooking, smoothies, in water or even chewed from fresh.

Jess said: “Menthol, the substance in mint, works by tricking your body into feeling cold. This works through triggering the cold-sensitive receptors in the skin, resulting in a cooling sensation that feels cold. When these receptors cause electrical impulses to travel to the brain, it can make you believe you are up to five degrees cooler than first thought.

“Along with its cooling effects, mint is a great anti-inflammatory and can be a good way of reducing bloating too.”

Heat exhaustion – what to do

If you or someone else has symptoms of heat exhaustion that you’re struggling to treat or you need advice about, the NHS recommends calling 111 or getting help from 111 online. 

You should call 999 now if:

  • You or someone else have signs of heatstroke, including:
  • still unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place, being cooled and drinking fluids
  • a very high temperature
  • hot skin that’s not sweating and might look red (this can be harder to see on brown and black skin)
  • a fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • confusion and lack of coordination
  • a seizure or fit
  • loss of consciousness

The person with symptoms should be put in the recovery position if they lose consciousness while you’re waiting for help.

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