Cooling Nutrition During Summer

Gleaming sunshine, scorching temperatures, air like molten glass! The summer months are demanding on our bodies. The heat causes Pitta, one of the three doshas in Ayurveda, to increases. It is therefore important to investigate the natural tendencies of the body, activities and diet, in order to adapt to these situations.

One develops no sufficient appetite when a heat wave prevails. It is difficult to be physically fit and mentally active. This state is caused by the increase in pitta. When pitta is increased, the body reduces its inner fire, agni, in order to create a balance. The reduction in agni causes the metabolism to slow down, which decreases the digestive power. The body can be given some relief by selectively cooling the body via nutrition. The best ayurvedic diet tips for the dog days of summer are as follows:

  • Light food should be your first choice when temperatures are scorching. Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, carrots, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as basmati rice, ghee, cottage cheese, almonds, olive oil, coconut oil and fruit may be consumed.
  • Pitta increasing foods should be avoided. These include red meat, fish, sausage, strongly flavoured cheese and alcohol. There are also a number of plant foods and spices that can increase body temperature: beetroot, aubergine, tomato, radish, onions, garlic, hot peppers, citrus fruits, rye, millet, buckwheat, corn, honey, hot spices (pepper, chilli, cloves, caraway, ...) as well as salt, vinegar and ketchup.
  • In countries where it is very hot during summer, it is customary to season dishes with spices. There are a number of spices that stimulate the digestive fire without increasing pitta. Fresh herbs, ginger, coriander, fennel, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron are recommended.
  • A good tip is to listen to your body and not to ignore its signals. Only eat when you really feel hungry and consume food in moderation. Digestion becomes difficult when too much food is consumed, which in turn makes us feel sluggish. 
  • Cold drinks provide a short term, cooling feeling. The body needs heat these cold drinks for digestion to take place. This increases the body temperature, which increases perspiration, resulting in a feeling of thirst shortly after. This cycle can be broken by consuming warm drinks because they help keep the body heat low.
  • Even ice cream puts strain on digestion. If you do not want to forgo the deliciousness of ice cream, keep a few of these tips in mind: An ice cream should be seen as a separate meal and are best consumed at lunchtime. Consume only high-quality ice cream that has not been produced industrially.
  • Peppermint is not only well suited for quenching thirst, but is also referred to as a cooling plant. Peppermint or pitta teas calm and cool the body on hot summer days.
  • Pitta is balanced by flavours that are sweet, bitter and astringent, so it makes sense to consume those foods groups and drinks. On the other hand, should avoid salty, sour, spicy and very hot food types.