Ayurveda recommends to adapt diet and lifestyle at each season, to help keep the body in balance. In summer, increasing hot, dry, rough, subtle and mobile qualities must be balanced with cool, moist, unctuous, gross and stable qualities.
What happens in summer season and how does it impact our body?
In summer, the sun is sharp and powerful.
Day after day as the heat increases (pitta), it dries up the moist (kapha dosha) from our body and as the increases the dryness (vata dosha). The changes in quality within the body (proportion of dosha) may cause imbalances if they are not compensated through diet & lifestyle.
It is essential to adopt an ayurvedic summer diet as well as summer lifestyle habits.
What foods should we eat in summer ?
According to the traditional Ayurveda textbooks, the qualities of foods to favour in the summer are :
- Light to be gentle to the weakened digestive function,
- Sweet to produce strength and a cooling effect,
- Oily to preserve moist,
- Liquid to prevent from dehydration.
Cooling foods and sweet tasting foods such as melons, lassi, figs, almonds, white rice are to be favoured (click here for list of cooling foods). And to a lesser extent bitter and astringent tastes – because they tend to be depleting.
Salty, sour and spicy tastes are to be reduced as they create dryness and heat in the body. For instance, ready made sauces, tinned tuna, fermented foods, pickles, crisps and salted nuts, cured meats, yellow cheese, fried foods, chili, mustard, wasabi or cayenne pepper, and citrus fruits or vinegar.
Alcohol is to be avoided at all cost. On occasions it can be taken diluted in large amounts of water.
It is a good idea to check how your body is reacting to the seasonal climatic changes, it could be that it’s a mere 15 degree mostly rainy in your region. In which case, a summer regimen may not be the most suitable. Please consider local condition as well as your individual constitution when choosing your diet.
Summer Cooling Recipes ideas
For hot weather, this cooling & purifying coriander seeds infusion is the perfect morning drink.
Feel like ice cream ?
This refreshing, nourishing and unctuous date-almond-avocado mousse is the perfect healthy alternative to ice cream!
Salty option ?
Dag Weinmann – our favourite Ayurveda Chef – proposes a cooling and weight loss zucchini-sage soup. 2 in 1 ?
How about lifestyle changes ?
>>Beware of strenuous physical activities and prolonged exposure to the sun.
>>On the other hand you can freely enjoy naps, the sea, lakes, forests, children, flowers, soft mattresses, light and natural fabrics, light colors, moonlight, pearls, the smell of roses and jasmine….and beautiful, soft and calm women (yes, yes it is written in the texts!).
In short, everything that promotes calm and coolness of the body and mind!
You should now be well equipped to remain balanced this summer, or at least be more aware of seasonal changes within and without.
Ayurveda is a flexible science, not prescriptive. It gives us universal principles for which practical application must be adapted by each individual, using their intelligence and considering factors such as time, location and individual body-mind constitution.
If you have a medical condition, please consult a qualified practitioner to get an adequate summer diet recommendation.
For now wishing you a delightful holiday !
Article content extracted and adapted from AH Su 3.26 – 41.