How to Balance Heat with What You Eat

How to Balance Heat with What You Eat

During the summer, our bodies naturally crave light foods and small meals that are easy to digest because the digestive fire—a strong source of internal heat—disperses in order to help keep us cool. Being fully present with your meals while savoring the flavor and texture of your food will help minimize the risk of overeating. Summer is a time to favor the sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and to relish in cool, liquid, even slightly oily foods. This is the best time of year to enjoy fresh fruits and salads. It is also a great time to indulge in sweet dairy products such as milk, butter, ghee, cottage cheese, fresh homemade yogurt, and even ice cream on occasion. All unrefined sweeteners except honey and molasses are cooling and can be enjoyed in moderation during the summer months.

In the way of beverages to beat the heat, enjoy cool or room temperature water infused with mint or lime and a little raw sugar, a sweet lassi, cooling herbal teas such as peppermint, licorice, fennel or rose, or an occasional beer. Iced drinks are best avoided; they disturb the digestive fire and create toxins in the body.

Go easy on sour or unripe fruits, aged cheeses, and heating vegetables and spices such as carrots, beets, radishes, onions, garlic, ginger, and mustard seeds. Try to avoid extremely spicy foods like chilies or cayenne pepper altogether. Also keep in mind that raw vegetables (as in salads) will be better digested if they are eaten at lunch, rather than at dinner.

Below is a list of some ideal summer foods:

Fruits to Favor

Apples Grapes Plums
Avocados Limes Pomegranates
Berries Mangoes Prunes
Cherries Melons  
Coconut Pears  
Cranberries Pineapples  

Vegetables to Favor

Artichokes Cauliflower Kale
Asparagus Celery Lettuce
Beet Greens Chard Okra
Broccoli Collard Greens Potatoes
Brussel Sprouts Cucumbers Watercress
Cabbage Green Beans Zucchini

Grains to Favor

Barley Rice, Basmati Wheat

Legumes to Favor

Adzuki Beans Garbanzo Beans Soy Beans & Products
Black Beans Mung Beans Split Peas

Oils to Favor

Coconut Oil Olive Oil Sunflower Oil

Spices & Garnishes to Favor

Basil Coriander Lime
Cardamom Dill Mint
Cilantro Fennel Parsley

Meats to Favor (if you eat them)

Fish (freshwater) Poultry (white) Shrimp


Maple syrup Unrefined cane sugar Turbinado