cooling your bodyWhile you probably spend most of your day in a temperature regulated environment, you are still affected by the extreme yang nature of summer heat. Cooling your body is important in the summer days. 

YANG = hot, expansive, active, masculine

Whether the heat causes you to feel vexed, agitated, slow or sluggish, here are a few recommendations to keep you harmonized and cool.

Eat less and lighter

Summer is the best time of year to limit food intake as your body’s digestive system can easily be over-taxed by too much heavy, dense or concentrated foods.

Eat more veggies, less meat.  

More raw, less roasted.

If you are suffering from loose stools and diarrhea (a sign of sluggish digestion) find a nice balance between lightly cooked veggies and raw.  

Too much raw food, especially cruciferous vegetables, can contribute to bloating, loose stools, gas and a feeling of bodily heaviness.  Cooking food is essentially pre-digesting it.

Add herbs for cooling your body

Fresh herbs provide an abundance of nutrients and most of them help aid digestion. 

Basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, sage, garlic, ginger and onions should be generously added to all food preparation.

Warm liquids cool 

While I will whole-heartily agree that ice feels like the right thing to do on a really hot day, (and trust me, I drink plenty of iced drinks), warm liquids will be cooling your body faster.  

By raising the core temperature, you stimulate the body to sweat, this results in cooling your body effect. 

The spicy/pungent flavor opens the pores

Just as warm liquids will stimulate sweating, so too, will spicy and pungent foods.  

This is the reason cuisine from warm/hot climates tends to be spicy. Through sweating the internal heat of the body is vented through the pores.  

Throw on some hot sauce, stir fry some peppers or make a peppery salsa. 

Balance pungency with cooling foods

Keep in mind that TCM is all about synergistic balance. 
Spicy foods harmonize nicely with cooling foods. Celery, cucumber, mushrooms, citrus, lettuce, radish, carrots, asparagus, summer squash, cabbage, bok choy, eggplant, and corn are all classified as cooling.  Cooling your body will require grains like wheat, amaranth, barley and millet.  Dairy, seaweeds, tofu and fish will also be quite cooling.