Cooling Foods for Summer
~Revolution Health Medical Center~
In traditional Chinese medicine, foods are categorized in groups: heating, cooling, and neutral. Before the advent of grocery stores, refrigeration, and mass agriculture, people ate foods that nourished and balanced the body according to their seasonal needs.
During the summer, we need cooling, hydrating foods that are antioxidant rich to compliment the intense heat of the sunrays. As it so perfectly happens, these cooling foods are seasonally available during the summer months when we need them most. Summer is the season for fruit salads, stir-frys, and high vegetable consumption.
Ditch the red meat and dairy and replace it with the lighter fares. Set the goal to eat 6 cups of fresh vegetables daily. Try adding mineral rich foods such as seaweed salad, kombu, nori, or spirulina.
Also, try something new! Most Americans consume the same 4 foods repeatedly; dairy, chicken, wheat, and corn, while the healthiest diet is full of color and variety. This is especially true for summer, so get over to your farmer’s market or backyard garden and fill your kitchen with the cooling and abundant flavors of summer.
Antioxidant rich foods
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, pomegranate seeds, mulberries, grapes. These all have darkly pigmented skin, so they contain nutrients that help protect your skin from getting burned by the sun’s rays. If you are heading out for picnics, hikes, or boating trips remember to pack berries in your picnic basket.
Cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, lychees, logan fruit, and coconut water are loaded with natural electrolyte-rich water. Slice and pack for snacks at work or juice for a post-work out boost. A favorite summer treat to try is watermelon sprinkled with chipotle powder, himalayan salt, and fresh lime juice. You may also enjoy trying my favorite summer green juice made with fresh cucumber, cilantro, celery, lime, and green apple.
It’s salad time people! Raw, leafy greens actually have a lot of difficult to digest cellulose which, combined with the fact that lettuce is a cooling food, means that you need lots of stomach fire to properly assimilate its nutrition. In traditional Chinese medicine, salad consumption was reserved for summer when vitality and heat are abundant. So start playing with some of your favorite flavors and make it fun with toppings like peppers, mungbean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, avocado, and mushrooms.
The top favorite cooling teas are hibiscus and peppermint. Don’t underestimate the sweet satisfaction that comes from having an iced hibiscus cooler ready in the fridge for company or as quick recovery from sweaty yard work.
During the summer, keep hibiscus tea as a staple in the fridge. It is made by adding ½ cup hibiscus flowers to 1 quart water that has been brought to boil and taken off the heat. Let steep 15-30 minutes, and then add equal parts cold water, ice, and 2 droppers of vanilla stevia. Make it festive by adding, lime slices, berries, and floating hibiscus flowers in the pitcher.
Enjoy and stay cool!
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The information provided on this site is not intended to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a health problem. Please schedule a private consult about your health concerns.