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Stay Healthy This Summer

Posted by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa on July 07, 2023


The Ayurvedic science of Ritucharya (seasonal behavior) deals with how to conduct your life during the changing weather patterns of the seasons. The stresses of seasonal changes can bring about health challenges, but may be prevented by adopting seasonal regimens, prescribed by Ayurveda. 

Hot Time in the Summertime

With the strongest sun of the year, summer is hot. From the Ayurvedic perspective, pitta dosha is getting high. Exaggerated doshas are alleviated by diets and lifestyles that are opposite in nature to the prevailing condition. If the weather is hot and pitta is aggravated, as in the summer, cooling foods and drinks are beneficial.

Diseases of fever tend to increase, as do those of inflammation. All are signs of heat. Since people in temperate climates are more active in summer, they tend to succumb to athletic injuries and accidents. Be careful while you enjoy your fun, and get your fitness up before those weekend softball games.

Your seasonal strategy at this time is to stay cool, prevent water retention and stay balanced and even in your activities. Don’t overdo it if you have a tendency to heat up!

Cool Down with Foods

During this hot season, use cooling foods. Stay cool. Get up early in the morning when it is cool. Avoid working in hot environments and be careful not to get overheated. 

Wear cooler clothes, like cotton or silk. Ayurveda suggests cooling massages with coconut oil during hot weather. Cooling aromas, or essential oils, including sandal or rose, help to quell the fire.

Bitter taste, which is cooling, is composed of air and ether elements, the same elements that predominate in the mind. Sweet taste, composed of earth and water elements, is grounding, cooling and calming. Sweet herbs for the mind include Ashwaganda and licorice.

Use cooling, bitter and astringent herbs to brush your teeth, and rinse your mouth with cool herbs, including neem and mint.

Spicy Diet is Out

In your diet, concentrate on sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Focus on the fresh, sweet, fruits and vegetables that grow in this season. Use more raw foods, like salads. And eat fewer foods with pungent, sour and salty tastes. Foods to minimize in summer include yogurt, cheese, tomatoes, vinegar and hot spices.

Cucumber, watermelon, non-acidic fruits and juices, grains, wheat, rice, and milk are ideal summer foods. Add to the list for summer meals a few more cooling foods: coconut, sweet fruits (grapes, pineapple, apricot, cabbage, black olives, squash, wheat, white beans, sprouts and sweet potato.

A delicious mid-summer drink is a lassi (dilute yogurt shake) made with cilantro and cumin, or lime water with cumin or coriander powder. As a cooling drink in the evening, use cool milk, with raw sugar, rosewater and blanched almonds.

Herbs with cooling bitter taste generally open the mind, increase the sensitivity of awareness and improve mental function. Bitter tasting herbs are cooling, calming and mind expanding, so they combat mental dullness. Bitter mind herbs are chamomile and gotu kola.

Cool your Mind

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) is so revered in Ayurveda that it is called brahmi, or “god-like.” This herb is the main herb for the mind in Ayurveda. Brahmi is a cooling herb- it helps to cool down anger. Hibiscus flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is a sweet cooling herb that purifies the heart and the blood, both physically and spiritually. It promotes wisdom. Rose flower (Rosa spp.) is a cooling herb that opens the heart and the mind. Use rose water as a refreshing drink. It combines well with hibiscus.

Summer heat might make you ambitious and ready to get up and go, but remember to stay healthy in the heat, stay cool, calm and collected.

Visit the PCC Integrative Healthcare program page to learn more about the Herbalism and Ayurvedic Yoga programs and sign up. 

Topics: Functional Nutrition, Ayurveda, Herbalism

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