Summer is a season of joy, brightness, activity, travel, play, fun and lightness. It is a period of growth. Even your hair and nails grow faster this season. Summer creates ‘heat conditions’ inside of us if we do not pay attention to the demands of our internal rhythms. If you are into vigorous exercise, you may get muscle cramps as electrolytes get sweated out of the body. This may cause weakness if they are not replaced in your diet.
In Chinese medicine ‘heat’ and ‘cold’ are fundamental properties in people, in the environment, in food and everything else. One can develop excess ‘heat’ in the body not only by overexposure to high temperatures, as in the summers, but also by overwork and stress. Too much mental as well as physical activity makes the heat rise within the body and dries up body fluids. A person suffering from heat’ conditions may feel dry and itchy in certain areas of the body (eg. arms, chest, legs, scalp). Consuming too many ‘warming’ foods in the summer may also give rise to heat conditions.
Too much ‘Heat’:
According to Chinese medicine signs of heat include a yellow coating on the tongue, reddish face, red eyes, and bad breath. The person usually feels hot, dislikes warm weather, his body may feel warm, and he may even run a low-grade fever sometimes. He may have skin rash, small red skin eruptions on the body, mainly on the back. Those suffering from heat conditions are usually short- tempered, highly irritable, worry and think excessively. They usually remain constipated, have dry smelly stools, dark yellow urine and don’t sleep well at night
Whilst ‘heat’ conditions in a person can exist in any season, they do get aggravated in summer.
Suggestions for reducing heat conditions:
During acute heat conditions it is important to eat less food and drink more fluids. Wheat grass juice and other green juices made from mint, coriander, curry patta, palak have a cooling effect. Consume cucumber juice, coconut water, fruit juices, buttermilk, lime juice, watermelon juice to cool the summer heat. You can add black salt and lime juice to make the green juices palatable. One tends to feel sluggish and lethargic as the days get hotter; therefore it is wise to avoid red meats, fried foods, chicken, coffee, alcohol, whole milk and cigarettes. Most people experience a reduced appetite during summer and instinctively eat lightly. Raw foods tend to be stimulating and help you to overcome lethargy in summers. Brown rice, raw vegetables, mung sprouts salad, alfalfa sprouts tossed in salad, low fat curds, steamed or lightly stir fried vegetables, watery dal soups, fruits, herb teas promote easier digestion and better assimilation. However, there are those that have a large appetite irrespective of the season. Such people probably suffer from ‘heat’ conditions and may need to detoxify. Fasting once a week on fruits and vegetables would prevent ‘heat’ from building up in such people.
‘Heat’ conditions stress the heart as well as the mind. The above suggestions would help you let the steam out and keep you ‘cool’ at all times.
ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 8918131/+91 86575 61727
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