How to

20 April 2016

How your Diet Impacts your Chances of Survival

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It is a fact that eating increases body temperature both in the moment and for a stretch of time after.  The chemical reactions of the digestive process as well as an increased metabolic rate allow for the digestion of food. A side effect of these inner workings is an increase in temperature by approximately 2 degrees Fahrenheit. To heat the body through a selective diet is known as thermogenesis, in which foods are eaten that prolong the body’s period of increased heat (ice cream, brown rice, ginger). Eating these foods regularly can increase metabolism and, eventually, a higher basal body temperature.

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Arguably, when trekking through a mountainous country or hiking in cold weather, calories are your best friend. Fat also contributes to the body’s survivability since high-intensity activities require a higher caloric intake. This means that foods normally considered fatty or unhealthy are, in this case, more than acceptable for keeping up energy.  If going on an outdoor adventure, be sure to carry a stock of foods like biscuits, cheese, peanut butter, and bread. High-fueling foods will help your body to maintain functionality without lacking calories or fat. In the case of having little food, hunting and foraging is the next best option. Think of being perpetually prepared by carrying a safety knife in your pack. This will ensure that in any scenario, you are properly prepared for tasks that require cutting, piercing, and rooting round.

Obviously, staying warm is of the utmost importance when venturing on an outdoor journey. Retaining a high body heat through diet is pointless if not adequately clothed. Retaining body heat is nearly impossible without properly dressing for the climate. All the fuel in the world won’t combat the lack of preparedness once the cold starts to set in. Ensuring protective clothing is the first step towards keeping safe in case of an emergency, so why not prepare early with a sub-zero capable jacket? Simply having a jacket ready is only step one on the road to keeping warm. One must remember the principles of “COLD”, as covered by Discovery News. 

1. Keep Clothing Clean
- The insulation offered by clothes is totally negated when coated in grime allowing heat to escape rather than be contained.

2. Avoid Overheating
- Damp affects clothes’ insulation value and sweat itself cools your body, the opposite of what is desired.

3. Wear Loose Layers
- Tight clothing decreases the volume of air, further reducing insulation. Dead-air space is exactly what loose layers allow for, further increasing insulation value.

4. Keep Clothing Dry
- Water-repellent clothing is the best option when dealing with cold weather. Dry wet items when able through hanging, fire exposure, or body heat exposure. 

Jacqui Litvan

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).