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Eating to be cool, when you’re hot

02/02/2011

sunSummer may have taken a little longer to manifest in Queensland this year, but now it’s out in force.  Hot and humid!  And that can play havoc in your body with headaches, lack of appetite or a ravenous appetite, nausea, fatigue, strong thirst, irritability and sweat pimples (here’s my favourite treat for clear skin).  Oh, what joy!

Food is one of the great delights in life, so how can we use it to survive summer heat? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) classifies foods by their impact on your body according to their temperatures and actions, as opposed to western nutrition which classifies foods by their nutritional content.  Both systems have merit and even often overlap but today I’ve featured some summer eating tips from TCM.

To cool your body down, ditch these:

  • caffeine
  • excessive spicy (hot) and pungent foods
  • excessive sweet foods
  • red meat
  • fried, grilled, roasted and barbequed foods
  • alcohol
  • overeating

To increase ‘coolness’ in your body, increase these:

  • Steamed, boiled, blanched and raw (in moderation if they don’t upset your digestive system) foods and soups.
  • Fresh foods especially cucumber (- cool as a), celery, mung beans, spinach, greens, mint, watermelon, tomato, radish, asparagus, eggplant and bamboo shoots.
  • Bitter foods, eg. lettuce, alfalfa, pawpaw, quinoa and amaranth.
  • Salty foods (in moderation), eg. seaweed, soy sauce, miso and pickles.
  • Sour foods, eg. lemon, lime, grapefruit, vinegar, star fruit, strawberries, apple and raspberry.
  • Proteins such as tofu, tempeh, egg white,  white fish and crab.
  • Herbs and spices such as mint, lemon balm, white peppercorn, coriander and marjoram.
  • Herbal and iced teas made from peppermint, chrysanthemum and rose petals.
  • My old favourite, add a squeeze of fresh lemon to your drinking water and keep those fluids up.

Now, who said cooling foods should be boring?  This food list screams out a chance to enjoy some delicious vietnamese and other south-east asian dishes, not to mention Japanese miso soups and seaweed-based meals.

Is the humidity also bringing you down?  Here’s some tips to feel less ‘damp’.

Enjoy, and stay cool!

For further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health at her Broadbeach clinic and is the Chinese Medicine Senior Lecturer at the Endeavour College of Natural Health Gold Coast campus.

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