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Eat Wisely for Summer, the Ancient Chinese Way

Summer is the season of joy, so get outdoors and have fun! (Image: Artur Maltsau/123rf)
Summer is the season of joy, so get outdoors and have fun! (Image: Artur Maltsau/123rf)

Like the Earth and it’s seasons, your body is also changing in synchronicity with your natural environment—whether you can sense it or not.

At least, this was the viewpoint of the ancient Chinese physicians, who observed human life in a broad, holistic, and almost spiritual way.

By listening to the recommendations of the Chinese ancients, you can make small adjustments to your habits and diet to see you through.

In summer, of the five elements, fire is active during this period, and like flames, the energy moves upward. Positive yang energy is growing, and you will feel more energetic and joyful. Getting outdoors in the warm sunshine helps you feel this way!

get active and be apart of the great outdoors (Image:Primoz jenko/123rf)

Get active and be apart of the great outdoors (Image:Primoz jenko/123rf)

Caring for yourself in summer

In hot weather, the body needs a short rest in the middle of the day to replenish. Take some downtime in a shady hammock with a cool beverage after lunch.

Stay cool and hydrated with iced tea and fruit juices (Image:daphoto/123rf)

Stay cool and hydrated with iced tea and fruit juices. (Image:daphoto/123rf)

Observe the natural rhythm of the light.  Rise with the sun and get the day underway with some light exercise or activity, and go to bed later.

Drink plenty of fluids, and stay “cool’ headed”—avoid anger in summer, as there is enough heat in the body already. Try relaxing activities, such as meditation, qigong, or yoga.

A summer diet for optimum health

In summer, you want to eat a diet that cools, reduces toxins, and moistens the body.

In warmer weather, you are naturally drawn to cooling foods, such as salads, fruits, and seafoods. By listening to your body’s cues, you can give your body what it needs—yin, or cooling foods.

Light, cool and sweet foods are a good choice, like this watermelon, mint, and fetta salad (Image:Esben Hansen/123rf)

Light, cool, and sweet foods are a good choice, like this watermelon, mint, and fetta salad. (Image:Esben Hansen/123rf)

Add these foods to your diet:

  • Summer fruits, such as melons, stone fruits, and citrus
  • Bamboo sprouts, sprouts, and asparagus
  • Green brassicas, such as bok choy, spinach, and broccoli
  • White mushroom, squash, cucumber, and seaweed
  • Seafood
  • Herbs, such as cilantro, dill, and mint

Avoid overeating and keep red meat, dairy, and fat to a minimum, as these foods are heating, and are better suited to cold weather.

Summer:

The element of fire is represents the summer season.

The element for movement in the summer season is upward.

In the season of summer, everything lushes under the hot weather, as sowing fire.

The body organs related to fire include the heart, small intestine, and the tongue.

The emotion of the fire element is joy.

The taste representing the element of fire is bitter.

And the color of food for fire is red.

Recommended food to eat in summer: Sweet potatoes, watermelons, cucumbers, bitter melons, and peaches.

Late summer season:

The element of the late summer season is earth.

This refers to the time after the dry summer heat and it starts to rain, and the heat and humidity increase. It is a period of growth for fruits and vegetables, and its character represents the earth.

The body organs related to earth for the late summer season are the spleen, the stomach, and the mouth.

The element of the emotions for the late summer season is thoughts.

And the taste representing the element of earth is sweet.

The color of food for late summer is yellow.

Recommended food for the late summer season: oranges, pumpkins, corn, and soybeans.

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