Home Health & Wellness Beating the Heat on Antidepressants: Foods, Drinks, and Safety Tips for the UK Heatwave

Beating the Heat on Antidepressants: Foods, Drinks, and Safety Tips for the UK Heatwave

Published: Last updated:
Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the UK anticipates another heatwave, staying cool is crucial, especially for those on antidepressants. Certain medications can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature, making it important to adapt your diet and hydration habits accordingly. Mental Health First Aid Course’s expert, Sarah Jeffries, provides us with a comprehensive guide on managing the heat safely while on antidepressants, focusing on foods and drinks to avoid, and tailored advice for the weather conditions expected in the UK.

Foods and drinks to avoid

Caffeinated beverages: Caffeine can be dehydrating, which is particularly risky when you’re taking medications that may already challenge your body’s temperature regulation. It’s wise to limit or avoid coffee, black tea, and energy drinks to prevent dehydration and minimise anxiety or increased heart rate, which can be exacerbated by both the heat and antidepressant side effects.

High-sodium foods: Foods heavy in salt can contribute to dehydration. During a heatwave, it’s best to avoid processed foods, snacks like chips or salted nuts, and cured meats, which can make it harder for your body to retain water.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a major dehydrant and can interfere with the effectiveness of antidepressants. It also affects your mood and sleep, so it’s best to avoid it during extreme heat to keep your body and mind in balance.

High-sugar drinks: Sugary drinks can lead to spikes in blood sugar followed by rapid drops, which might interfere with your energy levels and mood. Opt for water, herbal teas, or diluted fruit juices instead.

Heavy meals: Large, heavy meals can increase metabolic heat as the body works harder to break down the food. In a heatwave, opt for smaller, more frequent meals that are easier to digest, like salads, fruits, and light proteins.

Staying cool and safe

Stay hydrated: Water is your best friend during a heatwave. Make sure to drink regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Adding slices of cucumber or citrus to your water can make it more refreshing and enticing to drink.

Wear appropriate clothing: Light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing helps reflect heat and maintain body temperature. Fabrics like cotton are particularly good as they allow your skin to breathe.

Create a cool environment: Keep blinds or curtains closed during the day to block out sunlight, and use fans or air conditioning if available. At night, open windows to let cooler air in if it’s safe to do so.

Monitor your health: Be aware of how your body reacts to heat, especially when on antidepressants. Watch for symptoms of overheating, such as excessive sweating, dizziness, and fatigue. If you feel unwell, move to a cooler place and seek medical advice if symptoms persist.

Stay informed: Keep up to date with local weather forecasts and heed any advice given by health officials, especially regarding the heatwave. Plan your day to avoid the sun during its peak hours, typically between 11am and 3pm.

Mental Health First Aid Course’s expert, Sarah Jeffries, says: “With the UK’s variable climate, sudden heat waves can catch many off guard. Local councils often provide cooling centres or public advice on where to find relief from the heat. Remember that some regions might be more prone to higher temperatures, so planning according to your local weather forecast is crucial.

“By understanding and adjusting your diet and hydration, wearing appropriate clothing, and monitoring your environment and health, you can safely manage your well-being during a heatwave while on antidepressants.”

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd