In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we look at food as having properties (hot, cold, dry, damp etc) in addition to nutritional value. Foods grown in each season have properties that help balance the body during that time. For example, summer foods have the ability to clear heat and cool the body down. Those grown in late summer or fall are more ‘hearty’ and tend to be better for building heat for those cooler fall days and nights (think root vegetables compared to leafy fragrant greens and cucumbers).
Getting overheated in the hot humid summer months isn’t unusual, but by including some of the following foods and avoiding others, you can help beat the heat and cool off.
Typically signs of being over-heated include: fever, profuse sweating, vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath, wheezing, diarrhea, bloating, irritability, inflammation and headaches.
Foods that help to clear some of this summer heat are: watermelon, lemon, apple, pineapple, mung beans (in soup), summer squash, zucchini, alfalfa, spinach and cucumber. If you suffer from sun or heat stroke you can use the juice from radishes or watermelon to help. Watermelon rind (the white part) can also be used to soothe sunburns as well.
Avoid: hot, spicy, greasy or overly oily foods, also avoid over consumption of stimulants like coffee, alcohol or sugars.
Foods can be used like medicine to help nourish and heal, so in addition to tasting great, we also feel better
Cooling Summer Tea
Soothing on the stomach and liver systems, this tea is ideal for cooling summer heat. Drink hot or cooled.
(2 tea bags of each or about a teaspoon each of loose leaf)
Pour boiling water over herbs and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove herbs and use lemon juice to taste. You may also add some agave syrup if you like a slightly sweeter tea. Serve cool with a slice of lemon or a fresh sprig of mint.
If you find you are retaining a lot of water and react strongly to the humid weather, try drinking barley water daily. It can help soothe your digestive system, clear excessive heat and balance water metabolism.
2 ounces organic barley
1 liter filtered water
pinch of salt
Gently dry roast the barley and then add the filtered water and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30-40 minutes (until the barley is soft). Strain and add some lemon juice to taste. You can dilute the mixture with water. Drink cool or at room temperature. This soothes the intestines and cools the blood