Stay Healthy This Summer!
The Ayurvedic science of Ritucharya (seasonal behavior) deals with how to conduct your life during the changing weather patterns of the seasons. The stresses of seasonal changes can bring about health challenges, so Ayurveda recommends seasonal regimens to help keep us in balance.
With the strongest sun of the year, summer is hot, and from the Ayurvedic perspective, pitta dosha is getting high. Exaggerated doshas can be alleviated by diets and lifestyles that are opposite in nature to the prevailing dosha. Therefore, your seasonal strategy for the summer is to stay cool, prevent water retention and maintain balance in your activities. I recommend getting up early in the morning when it is cool, avoid working in hot environments and be careful not to get overheated. Eat cooling foods and wear cooler clothes like cotton or silk. During this hot weather, Ayurveda also suggests cooling massages with coconut oil, as well as cooling aromas such as sandalwood and rose.
In your diet, concentrate on sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Also, focus on the fresh, sweet fruits and vegetables that grow during this season. Use more raw foods like salads, and eat fewer foods with pungent, sour and salty tastes. Cucumber, watermelon, sweet, non-acidic fruits and juices, grains, wheat, rice and milk are ideal summer foods. Additional cooling foods great for summer meals are coconut, sweet fruits (grapes, pineapple, apricot) cabbage, black olives, squash, wheat, white beans, sprouts and sweet potato.
Sweet taste, composed of the elements earth and water, is grounding, cooling and calming. Hibiscus flower is considered a sweet, cooling herb that can help the heart (both physically and spiritually). Rose flower is also a sweet, cooling herb that can help open the heart and the mind.
Bitter taste, which is also cooling, is composed of the elements air and ether, the same elements that predominate in the mind. Goto Kola is one such herb. It is the main herb for the mind in Ayurveda and is thought to help to cool down anger.
A few delicious and cooling mid-summer drinks include lime water with cumin or coriander powder; cool milk with raw sugar, rosewater and blanched almonds; and lassi (diluted yogurt shake) made with cilantro and cumin.
For two delicious and cooling recipes perfect for summertime, click here.
I wish you all a healthy summer!
~Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa