In Chinese Medicine, we believe that every season gives us the opportunity to strengthen and balance our health. As the weather warms, consider these recommendations to maintain health and wellness this Summer.
Eat Seasonal Summer Foods
Enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Summer. In Chinese Medicine, we believe that nature provides us with the very foods that will promote health. Shop your farmer’s market and visit a local farm to get the freshest, most local foods available. If you have the space, grow your own garden. You can’t get more local than harvesting from your own garden!
Cool Down with Raw Foods
As the temperatures rise, cool down by eating raw fruits and vegetables- such as cucumber slices, tomatoes, lettuce salads, watermelon, and peaches. Not only are these foods great for cooling, they are abundant in minerals and fluids to keep your body hydrated. Chill water with freshly chopped cucumber and lemon slices to create a refreshing and thirst-quenching beverage.
Drink Cooling Herbal Teas
Drink herbal teas chilled or room temperature. According to Chinese Medicine, “cooling” herbs include: green tea, peppermint, hibiscus, rosehip, lemon balm, and chrysanthemum. Here’s one of my favorite iced herbal tea recipes: brew organic hibiscus tea (I use the Traditional Medicinals brand), strain, chill and serve with lemon or lime slices. Hibiscus has a fruity, floral taste with a brilliant red color. It’s perfect for a Summer afternoon.
Eat Cooling Summer Foods
Some traditional Chinese “cooling” foods include: fresh fish, mung beans, wheat, millet, barley, eggplant, summer squash, cabbage, broccoli, yogurt, kefir and tempeh. Mung bean soup is a traditional remedy to treat overheating according to Chinese Medicine. Cook a batch of mung beans with onions and garlic. Season with chopped parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
A note: If you have digestive issues or tendency to run “cold”
If you have a weak digestive system (also known as spleen qi deficiency in Chinese Medicine), you may find that raw foods increase digestive issues. If you experience digestive discomfort, loose stools, gas, bloating, fatigue, nausea, or diarrhea, you might need to decrease the amount of raw, cooling foods in your diet and balance this with cooked foods.
If you have a tendency to feel cold even in the Summer, limiting raw and cold foods might be helpful. For those who feel cold, I recommend to cook a majority of your foods and increase protein (chicken and lamb have particularly warming qualities).
Add warming digestive spices to your foods such as black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, fennel and cardamom. And drink warm herbal teas such as black tea, chai, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, and cardamom.