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A chinese food therapy view on Summer eating

summer foods

Holistic ways to stay cool under the sun

Beach, sun bathing, swimming, parties, holidays and sun, sun, sun – summer has finally arrived! After months of rain and grey weather it seems the warm weather is finally upon us again but however much we are craving for feeling the heat of the sun on our skins, we need to take extra precautions to protect ourselves during the radiant summer season. Summer is a time for fun and games but that intense summer heat can also sneak up on you and zap your energy.  It can also cause dehydration, sunburn and actual exhaustion! Prolonged exposure to heat and insufficient body fluid can result in heat exhaustion. Its symptoms can include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness headache and nausea or vomiting. Here are the best remedies for heat exhaustion:

Tips to avoid Heat Exhaustion
Dehydration can set in without you realising it so carry water with you and sip it through the day. Pace yourself when exercising or working outdoors. Wear lightweight clothing the lighter the coloured clothing (white being ideal) the more sunlight is reflected away from you. Take cool showers in order to bring down your body temperature. If you get sunburnt, dilute one part Tea Tree Oil with ten parts of olive oil or coconut oil and spread freely over the affected areas. This is soothing and pain-relieving and to reduce blistering and peeling. Use common sense and avoid being in the sun during hottest parts of the day. If you feel dizzy and/or stop sweating, quit all activity and get out of the sun fast. Drink cool, not cold water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it. The vinegar helps to replace electrolytes and minerals like sports drinks do. Eat watermelon! In ancient Egypt, China and the Far East, watermelon juice and its seeds were traditionally offered to thirsty travellers, and they are still important today in times of drought or water pollution. This flavourful fruit is one of the best remedies for dehydration and summer heat symptoms. Watermelon cools and cleanses the system, clearing summer heat and acts as a natural diuretic.

Summer nutrition to hydrate and strengthen your body

While it is extremely important to drink plenty of fluids, to stay in the shade, and reapply sunscreen throughout the day, these measures alone are not enough. The intake of proper nutrients can aid in optimizing your health during these hot summer days and leave you glowing through the hot months.

Traditional Chinese Medicine states that one should eat in accordance with the seasons. This theory, derived from the ancient healers in China who followed the Laws of Nature by observing the patterns of the season, led them to eat and live accordingly.  Summer is perceived as the time when energy is abundant and the mood is high. This season is about expansion, growth, activity and creativity. Succulent fruits and brightly coloured, leafy vegetables that are grown during this time reflect this principle, and so should our daily consumption of foods.

Chinese food therapy also emphasizes eating foods according to their energetic qualities and food is classified according to its energetic temperature, taste, and ability to moisten and strengthen the body.  To stay hydrated and keep your skin glowing and toxin free this summer, foods with cool and cold properties should be incorporated in your diet as their properties are to clear heat, reduce toxins and generate body fluids.  In general, cooling foods tend towards the green end of the spectrum (lettuce, cucumber and watercress are some of the coolest).  Few vegetables are warming and fish and seafood are also cooling, while most meats are warming (especially red meats).

Foods to keep you cool and balanced all summer long:

• watermelon, apricot and peach, cantaloupe, grapefruit, lemon, orange
• tomato, asparagus, sprouts (e.g. alfalfa), bamboo, beets, broccoli, corn, cucumber, white mushroom, snow pea, spinach, courgette, turnip, watercress, millet and pearl barleym, mung bean and lentil, seaweed
• cilantro and mint