The warmth of summer can be either invigorating or draining. We have to take care not to overheat during this season. The good news is that we can choose foods that are cooling and nourishing to keep us in balance during this bountiful time.
Wake early in the morning and take nourishment from the morning sun.
Photo by Carissa Gan on Unsplash
#1 Base your meals and snacks on brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
I encourage you to take advantage of local and in-season fruits and vegetables.
My local summer favourites are:
- Cherries, melons, nectarines, and peaches.
- Beetroot, eggplant, salad greens, squash, sweetcorn, and zucchini.
I also enjoy Australian avocados, bananas, mangoes, and papaya but these are not grown in our local area.
If you are interested in eating local food, find out what is in season near you. Check out the Australian Seasonal Food Guide here.
Other countries will have similar guides available.
#2 Eat raw and lightly cooked foods
Whilst I am not a big fan of raw foods at other times of the year, summertime definitely calls for some raw foods. If you suffer from digestive issues, I would advise against too many raw foods though. Follow the advice of your healthcare practitioner.
Vegetable and fruit salads are a must during this season. You might like to read my earlier post on salads.
Stir-fry and lightly steamed vegetables are also a good option in warmer weather.
#3 Keep well hydrated in summer
Some of the early signs of dehydration are lethargy, dry mouth, darker urine, and dizziness. Left unchecked dehydration can lead to low blood pressure, delirium, unconsciousness and kidney failure. So it is super important to top up with fluids regularly.
Keep hydrated with:
- Herbal tisanes, especially those with a little ginger and other warming spices.
- Fresh filtered tap water at room temperature (with added mint or sliced fruit).
We lose water from our bodies when we sweat and also from spending time in air-conditioned buildings.
Another, often overlooked, way of losing body water (through sweat) is while we are swimming. In Australia, this is a favourite pastime to keep cool!
Check the colour of your urine to make sure you are well hydrated. Ideally, urine is light straw in colour. You may experience darker urine from taking certain medications and supplements, so make allowances for this.
#4 Adopt some wisdom from the East
My favourite tips from Eastern Medicine, for hot weather, are listed below:
- Include cooling moist foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables (in particular salads, mung sprouts, alfalfa, tofu, rice, strawberries, mango, rhubarb and melons), rice and milk.
- Limit heavy foods such as meat, eggs and excess nuts, seeds and grains, as these may make you feel sluggish.
- Add mild spice, e.g. fresh ginger, red and green peppers, horseradish and black pepper. These may bring body heat to the surface of your skin. You may feel a little flushed at first, but then you will feel cooler. However, eating too much spice can make you feel weak and tired. So experiment mindfully.
- Limit very cold foods and drinks as these can cause the body to hold in the heat. And they can also reduce your digestive function. Iced drinks and icecream are best avoided, or consumed between meals.
- Limit alcohol, or if you do drink it have it with ample water.
These tips from Easter Medicine are not tested by Western Science, however, there is no evidence to suggest that any of these will cause you harm. I suggest trying these tips mindfully.
#5 Eat mindfully
Mindful eating encourages you to pause before you eat and consider what you feel like eating, and how much you need.
You may notice that you are not as hungry on hot days, so only eat the amount that you need.
During summer you will most likely feel like eating light foods and smaller quantities compared to the other seasons.
Listen to what your body craves, and then check-in after you have eaten to see how you feel.
Read the Eating for You book for further guidance on mindful eating.