Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh and delicious foods that are light, hydrating, and packed with nutrients. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the summer season is associated with the element of fire, which is characterized by heat, activity, and growth. To maintain balance and harmony in the body during the summer season, it's important to eat foods that help to cool and nourish the body, while avoiding foods that can create excess heat and sluggishness.
Here are some of the best foods to eat during the summer season:
Watermelon: Watermelon is one of the quintessential summer fruits, and for good reason. It's hydrating, refreshing, and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Plus, it's low in calories and can help to cool and soothe the body on hot summer days.
Cucumbers: Cucumbers are another hydrating and refreshing summer food that can help to cool the body. They're also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are in season during the summer months, and they're a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
Grilled fish: Grilled fish is a light and delicious protein source that's perfect for summer. It's packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation in the body.
Salads: Salads are a great way to pack in a variety of fresh and nutrient-dense ingredients during the summer season. Try mixing together a variety of greens, such as spinach, arugula, and kale, along with other vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
While it's important to focus on these nourishing and hydrating foods during the summer season, there are also some foods that should be avoided. Here are some foods that can create excess heat and sluggishness in the body during the summer:
Fatty and greasy foods: Foods that are high in fat and grease can be heavy and difficult to digest, which can lead to feelings of sluggishness and discomfort during the hot summer months.
Spicy foods: Spicy foods can increase internal heat in the body, which can exacerbate feelings of heat and discomfort during the summer season.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can dehydrate the body, which can be particularly problematic during the summer when temperatures are high and the body needs extra hydration.
Sugary foods and drinks: Sugary foods and drinks can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can lead to feelings of fatigue and lethargy during the hot summer months.
Dairy products: Dairy products can be heavy and difficult to digest, particularly during the summer when the body is already working hard to stay cool and maintain balance.
By focusing on nourishing and hydrating foods during the summer season and avoiding foods that can create excess heat and sluggishness in the body, you can help to maintain balance and harmony, and enjoy all that the season has to offer. So, next time you're at the farmer's market or grocery store, stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, and get ready to savor the flavors of summer.