It has been sticky, humid, hot weather recently that is pretty typical of the British summer. I’ve had lots of conversations in the last few weeks about the heat and it’s been interesting to see how some people can tolerate it well and others can become overheated and irritable quite easily.
There is still a point at which too much heat can get to us all and tip the yin and yang out of balance.
Did you know that in Chinese Medicine, certain foods are considered to be cooling for the body? How ‘cool’ is that?! We can literally alter what we eat to help us to combat overheating! Many of us reach for physically cold things, like icecream when the weather turns up the heat and though we may feel an instant relief, our bodies actually have to warm up icy things to body temperature before they can be properly digested – so we inadvertently use more energy and make it more work for our bodies to regulate temperature.
Here are 6 foods that have a cooling effect on the body (rather than necessarily being served ice cold):
Bitter herbs like chicory and dandelion leaves
These foods, amongst others, help to clear heat and toxins from the body, calm and cool the blood and have a yin energy that helps to balance the yang heat. Have you noticed that a Mediterranean diet traditionally contains a lot more fruits, salads and leafy greens? Is it a coincidence that some of these foods feature on the Chinese Medicine ‘Cool’ list?
There are many health conditions which are associated with excess heat:
To reduce the likelihood of excessive heat you can;
Have fewer hot drinks
Limit pungent spices (chili, ginger etc.), red meat and oily foods
Avoid food additives and chemicals found in ‘processed foods’
Reduce or eliminate coffee and alcohol
Eat salads and raw foods
Add green smoothies to your nutritional routine*
Try bitter foods, vegetables and herbs
Do regular fasting and/or detox
Generally, partaking of a lighter diet, taking in more water and consciously choosing ‘cooler’ foods can help you to enjoy the best of the summer weather.
*Here’s a great smoothie recipe, packed with cooling ingredients!