When the sun is blazing, barbecues and beer and Pimms in the park are popular. Unfortunately these things can be quite “heaty” for the body so don’t over do it, and balance things out with lots of fruit and vegetables which are in abundance during the summer.
Have lots of juicy tomatoes (plum, cherry, beef, on the vine or just plain regular) that are now in season and enjoy the last of the asparagus. Beet is a great root vegetable – have it roasted, steamed, or raw with some red cabbage and red onions. Top your dishes with watercress, rocket, coriander or some spinach. Seek out other cooling food like salads, green tea, strawberries, watermelon, cucumber and fish – all help disperse heat and calm the system.
Don’t confuse cooling with cold. Cold foods can impair the function of the spleen according to the theories of Chinese medicine. When the spleen is weakened its ability to transform and transport the nutrients from your food is also disrupted and it could lead to symptoms like indigestion, loose stools, lethargy or dizziness.
The spleen functions best when it’s given warm, nourishing food that’s easily digested. It is summer though, and who wants stews and soups in the heat?
You can have your ice cream and eat it too, but don’t overindulge and have five in a row. One of my favourite summer-time salads consists of little boiled jersey potatoes, stir-fried asparagus, cherry tomatoes and tuna all on a bed of salad leaves – served at room temperature.
Eat light, both in flavours and in portion-size. We should take advantage of this time to eat light and fresh. Simple meals with good quality ingredients are the stars.
However do listen to your body – unless it’s crying out for sugar, it’s probably okay to give in to the craving moderately. If you want that ice cold glass of lemonade, go for it. Summer is much more forgiving than any other season.
Avoid anything ice cold as it hampers digestion. Treat yourself but don’t be excessive. At the same time, avoid hot foods such as coffee and acrid, pungent spices as they are too warming. Save those for the colder months later on in the year. And no, a cold coffee frappuccino does not make it neutral, but good try! If you like the taste of liquorice, fennel tea is great.
Re-edited from a post originally published 4/7/2012
Image: Flickr, A Guy Taking Pictures
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