Beat the Heat

This post is copied from our older, original blog. Original post date 07/18/2012. 

By Marcie Bower, Lic.Ac.

If you have gone outside at all today, you know that it is HOT. It seems most of the country has been experiencing particularly hot weather this summer. And while the heat can be good, it is also important that you take the necessary precautions to help your body naturally stay cool, particularly by paying attention to what kinds of food and drink you put into your body. Here are a couple tips from Traditional Chinese Medicine:

– Eat fruits with a high water content, to help moisten your body and prevent dehydration: watermelons, kiwis, plums, cantaloupes, passion fruits, and melons.

– Incorporate the following cooling herbs and spices into your daily diet: mint, dandelion greens, lemon balm, cilantro, marjoram

– STAY HYDRATED by drinking water or coconut water. You can drink 100% natural fruit juices in moderation (think of each glass as being like eating a whole fruit in terms of sugar content.) AVOID Gatorade and other sports drinks, as well as all sodas. Both sugar and caffeine can have a dehydrating effect on the body making any symptoms of heat exhaustion that much worse. Avoid drinking coffee or caffeinated tea, or limit your intake as much as possible. Avoid alcoholic beverages on really hot days. (For a really great summer drink, crush up some fresh mint and squeeze a slice of lime into a cup of coconut water. Mmmmm…)

– Drink room temperature or cool water, instead of ice water, even when you are really hot. Your body is able to absorb this better than really cold water and actually see the benefits in the tissues. You can add lemon to your water to help with absorption. Sip your water, don’t chug.

– Eat lighter meals than you do at other times of the year, more focused on fresh greens and fresh vegetables and less on heavy meats or dairy.

– Eat meals that are contain a variety of natural colors, reflecting the natural bounty of the summer months. This aligns your body harmoniously with the Fire element, the element of the summer season.

– On really hot days, you can use some hot spices in moderation to help your body sweat. The sweating naturally opens your pores and cools down your body, bringing your body temperature back to a normal level.