We enjoy this year’s New Hampshire Summer with high temperatures, and some of us love to go for ice cream or iced drinks. However, chilled and frozen foods and drinks coax the body into heating up even more. Additionally, cold food in the stomach diminishes our digestive fire, which means that we do not absorb nutrients as we should.
According to Ayurveda, it is not the food’s temperature that cools us down, but rather its qualities, which promote heating or cooling:
- Sour, salty, and pungent foods generally boost heat.
- Sweet, bitter, and astringent foods generally cool us down.
- VIPAK, the aftertaste in the stomach, affects heating or cooling most of the time; exceptions exist!
To keep your inner thermostat balanced, choose the right foods!
For the summer: Enjoy the cooling juice of lime! Coconut water hydrates and cools, even at room temperature! Mix it with coconut flakes or chunks of coconut for a smoothie; you can even add some cooling cilantro!
Green salads, lightly steamed vegetables, like Swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, celery, cucumbers, summer squash, all have a cooling effect. Besides their high water content, they are considered bitter and astringent, qualities that reduce the fiery pitta element in your constitution, or Dosha.
Fruits with cooling quality are dates, figs, pomegranates, raisins, prunes, limes, apples, pears, and watermelons.
Lime juice, mint, coconut, and cilantro help to cool a hot meal.
Chai has heating spices, but adding milk (cooling), can temper them. Your choice of sweetener also has an influence: Honey is heating, while date sugar, maple syrup, Sukanat, and Turbinado sugar tend toward cooling.