Cooling Foods Can Help Conquer The Heat
When temperatures rise, you may find yourself reaching for convenience foods that require no cooking, or ice cream to cool your insides.
However, the Ayurvedic health tradition encourages a focus on water based foods and fresh greens to keep your electrolyte levels up. When possible, it is wisest to cook your own foods and stay connected with your food supply. Making sure you stay hydrated, particularly in the morning, is also key in this "Science of Life" practice. While each of us has our own types of energy and times when we feel best, keeping your energies in balance when the temperature soars will require a focus on water intensive foods, fresh greens, room temperature water and food when possible, and spices that help you avoid heating up. These foods become the “cooling foods” that many of us can use.
1 - Water-Based Fruit
Ayurvedic practitioners teach that the temperature of our foods impact our bodies as food passes from the stomach into the intestine. Water intensive fruits, such as: watermelon, lime, berries, and coconut cool your system as the food is digested. If you love an ambrosia salad in the summer, loaded with fresh raspberries, melon, blueberries and just a drizzle of unsweetened coconut, you know how lovely it is to eat foods that do not add a lot of weight to the gut on the hottest day.
2 - Water-Based Vegetables
Just as water intensive fruits can hydrate and cool the body, water based vegetables can also help us stay cool and collected. Consider preparing a quick stir fry of celery, zucchini and diced carrots to serve over a chilled grain salad. Boosting your water intake while avoiding ingesting anything too cold or too hot is an excellent way to keep your body temperature in check during the hottest weather.
3 - Greens for Electrolytes
Sweating is how your body cools itself, but it can damage your electrolyte balance. Treat yourself to a cool cup of cucumber or coconut water. Enjoy a green salad of shredded kale, fresh spinach and dried berries to bring your body back in alignment. If you are hungry for something sweet, enjoy a fresh banana to bump up your potassium levels. Some folks enjoy peppers during the hottest weather; foods that make them sweat cool them down. While Ayurvedic practitioners agree with the sweating, many recommend avoiding anything too spicy as adding spice to your digestive furnace will warm you up for far longer than sweating will cool you down.
4 - Room Temperature Foods and Drinks to Stay in Balance
Cold foods make the body work to warm them up before digesting. A cold beverage passing into the intestine before warming would likely be very uncomfortable. If you want to use cold liquids to cool down, put cool water on your skin. Avoid putting anything icy cold inside your stomach; it will just add work for your digestive system.
5 - Herbs and Spices for Hot Weather
Use gentle spices for summer cooking. Use options that add a light flavor and can soothe the gut when your body is under stress. Fresh mint can add flavor to your favorite beverage. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro can give a cool brown rice salad a lovely flavor boost, and coriander can increase the citrus boost in a stir fry or a salad.