Summer, Fire, Joy, and Cooling Foods
The Chinese medicine element associated with summer is, not surprisingly, fire. The fire element is special because it provides that spark which inspires love for others as well as enthusiasm for new ideas and perhaps even an adventure.
Summer is the season of the year that is most yang. High yang means heat, maximum activity, and expansion.
The sun’s rays are reaching out to warm all that grows in Nature. This is also true of relationships because the emotion connected to the fire element is joy and the sound is laughter. Sounds pretty wonderful, doesn’t it?
This philosophy tells us that to live in harmony with nature, it is especially important during the summer months to be joyful and laugh.
I plan follow this advice as much as possible and I hope you’ll join me!
Other associations with the fire element are; the color red, bitter tasting foods, dynamism, strength, and persistence. Within the body the fire element is connected to the heart, small intestines, and the tongue.
When the fire element is in balance, your heart is strong and healthy, your mind is calm, your spirit joyful. Your sleep is sound and creativity is enhanced.
On the other hand, when the fire element is not balanced, you may either lack joy (depression) or have an excess of joy (mania). The fire element provides warmth and enthusiasm, but an excess of it may cause aggression, impatience, restlessness. and impulsive behavior.
Because summer is the hottest season, to balance the heat, you need a diet that is cooling. I have a few suggestions below.
– If you’re making ice tea, try green tea. It’s a lot healthier than many other types and yet it still tastes great. Research has found green tea to be anti-carcinogenic and to help lower cholesterol. Green tea is easy to find, there are many fine brands, and it can be purchased in most grocery stores.
– Eat more strawberries. These fruits are cooling in nature, making them the perfect summer food. In Chinese Medicine, they are good for dry cough and sore throat. Strawberries lubricate the lungs, promote production of body fluids, and for those regrettable evenings, detoxify alcohol intoxication. It’s best to eat strawberries (and most fruits) at room temperature.
Like other foods that are rich in vitamin C, strawberries enhance the absorption of iron from foods and having enough iron is important for nourishing your blood.
– Have some watermelon. This fruit was held in such regard that it was placed in the tombs of many Egyptian kings! Watermelon is considered to have many benefits in Chinese Medicine. The fruit (Xi Gua) and the seeds (Xi Gua Ren) are used for headache, nausea, irritability, low appetite, sluggish digestion and sore throat.
Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant and has been found to be protective against a growing list of cancers. Plus because of its thick skin, the exposure to those nasty pesticides is much lower than that of many other fruits and vegetables.
Other examples of cooling foods include; asparagus, sprouts, corn, cucumber, spinach, and mint.
Summer is not the time to overdo spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine. All of these foods heat you up rather than cool you down.