Ayurveda – Part VI: Ayurveda Tips for Summer

Today we bring you an article on Summer care according to Ayurveda.

This medicine teaches us that it’s important to seek balance, and that often it’s necessary to use the “technique of the opposites” to achieve this balance: spicy and hot foods in hot days increase heat. On the contrary, if we eat cool foods, the body heat decreases.
Joana Silva, Enfermeira, Terapeuta, Blogger, Terapias D’Alma

From Ayurvedic perspective, if food isn’t adequate, it’s difficult to achieve balance; the greater this balance is, the healthier the person will be. Therefore, in Summer time, it’s important to choose refreshing foods.
Joana Silva, Enfermeira, Terapeuta, Blogger, Terapias D’Alma

On the other hand, digestion in Summer is slower. This happens in a natural way because, in order to prevent from overheating, the body decreases agni (the digestive fire, which is directly linked to digestion; if it’s high, digestion is fast … if it decreases, digestion is slower). For this reason, the appetite is usually less in this season. We also tend to choose light and cool foods, such as fruits and salads.

Summer, with its warm days, is Pitta season, the dosha that manifests the elements of fire and water. There is also a tendency for the climate to be drier, which is also a characteristic of Vata, the dosha of ether and air. Ayurveda suggests that we must adopt eating habits and lifestyle which prevent from the accumulation of these seasonal qualities. Regarding Vata care routine, we already talked about in the previous article, so today we’re focusing on Pitta care routine.

Excessive Fire in Imbalances
Excess of the fire element can cause some behavioral and mental imbalances. Some examples are: anger, self-criticism or excessive criticism towards others, intolerance, irritability, impatience.

Regarding physical manifestations, there may be imbalances such as: inflammation of the skin, which may be red and blotchy, acne, excessive hunger or thirst, heat intolerance, gastric ulcers, increase of body odors, hemorrhoids, very concentrated urine.

Summer Diet
In Ayurveda, food is a lifestyle. For this reason, when we adjust ourselves to diet, we take into account, among other factors, the seasons and their influence on us.

The type of food Ayurveda recommends for Summer is similar to Pitta’s pacifying diets, although lighter and more suitable for all doshas. Never forget that we’re all unique beings and someone’s needs will not be the same as others’ needs.

Foods with sour taste, like lemon and vinegar, and pungent foods like peppers and ginger should be avoided, giving preference to foods with a bitter, sweet or astringent taste, because they help regulate heat in our body.

Balance is essential for proper nutrition, so don’t give up eating spicy foods in Summer if you do wish. The aim is to keep it balanced with cool foods as well.

Recommended Foods
Here it is a list with examples of foods that you can include in your daily diet during this season, keeping your body cool.

Fruit: apple, cherries, berries, grapes, melon, watermelon, plum, fig (Summer fruits in Portugal); avocado, coconut, lime, mango, pineapple (non-local fruits for Portugal); pomegranate (out of season).

Vegetables:broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, courgette, lettuce, potatoes and sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, black beans, peas, mushrooms (Summer vegetables in Portugal); asparagus, watercress, beets (out of season); mung beans, lentils, chickpeas (dry).

Seasonings: basil, cardamom, coriander, fennel, lime, mint, parsley.

Oils: coconut oil, olive oil and sunflower oil.

For daily life

• Wear light and long clothing, preferably in cool colors like blue, white, green;

• Spend time in nature, look for its shadow or even find places with water where you can refresh at least your feet and hands (use the appropriate protection, such as sunglasses and hats);

• Before bathing, massage the skin with coconut or sunflower oil to help calm the nervous system;

• Waking up early in the morning and taking a short nap during the day can be beneficial in this season. In the morning and late afternoon the weather is cooler for us to enjoy, and these are the ideal moments to go out,

• In this season many of us feel more active. Exercise is important, but we must bear in mind that it’s also an activity that normally warms the body. It should be avoided to do physical exercise, especially if intense, in the warmest hours of the day. It’s recommended to practice sport in the early morning and in the late afternoon. Moderate exercise is recommended outdoors in the shadow or in well-ventilated places, walking at night or swimming in the sea or in the swimming pool.

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