Now that summer is finally here, people are enjoying barbeques, pool parties, and weekends at the cottage. While many enjoy drinking ‘cooling’ fruit smoothies and eating fresh salads in hotter weather, others find themselves overloading on ‘hot’ foods like alcohol and charbroiled meats.
Maybe the concept of ‘cooling’ and ‘hot’ foods is new to you, so let me explain.
Chinese Medicine Doctors believe that the environment, changes in weather, and the properties of food affect one’s health. With summer, the season of the fire element in full swing, it’s important to live in harmony with the season by eating appropriate ‘cooling’ foods during the summer months.
The typical North American summer diet contains too many ‘hot’ foods, when this is the perfect time to eat ‘cooling’ yin foods to balance the heat. According to Chinese philosophy, foods can create energetic imbalances in the body and poor health is tied to disharmonies of “Qi” (energy) or an imbalance of the five elements – wood, earth, water, metal, and fire.
From a TCM perspective, recognizing a person’s current health status can be very helpful in understanding which dietary plan to follow.
If you would like to increase ‘cooling’ foods in your diet, consume a diet that is rich in:
- hydrating raw fruits & vegetables
- dark leafy greens
Adding lemons, limes, cucumber and fresh sliced oranges to water is especially beneficial for reducing heat in the body.
Also encouraged are iced herbal teas made from:
- Japanese honeysuckle flower
- lemon balm
- spearmint leaves
Chrysanthemum tea is a cooling Chinese drink that also helps reduce heat.
For good protein sources, add in wild fish, duck, and detoxifying mung beans.
Other foods to include in the diet are peaches, asparagus, summer squash and seaweed. And do not forget to chop up fresh herbs, adding them to salads for enhanced flavor and health benefits. Some favorites include cilantro, mint, dill, and parsley.
As you can see, the last thing people should be doing this summer is eating spicy ribs off the barbeque and chugging beers. ‘Hot’ foods consumed in hot summer weather may not only affect digestion by causing loose bowels, they can also cause emotional imbalances. By eating the wrong foods, an individual can worsen conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness.
This upcoming season is one of joy, activity, growth, and expressive energy. It’s an ideal time to get outside and experience a boost in mood, mental acuity, and physical vitality! Rise early, relax excessively, meditate regularly, and hydrate constantly.
Paying attention to your diet this summer and balancing the elements will improve your overall health and ensure your Qi is flowing smoothly. Use food as your medicine this season and try to include more ‘cooling’ foods at your next barbeque.
Who knows, you may even set a new “cool” trend.
Want to read about great foods for a first date? Click here