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Cool it with the Diet this Summer!

Extreme summer heat can really be devastating to your body!  Overexposure to heat can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.  While it is important to follow the advice of the American Heart Association...  Did you know that the right foods can also keep you cool this summer?

When you apply the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to your diet, you can easily help to nourish your body when the temperatures reach their peak!  TCM uses the energetic properties of foods to balance the body and mind, so we can feel our most energetic, pain-free, and joyful!

Fruits and Vegetables                                                                                                                                                    Take advantage of all the fresh produce this season!  This is really the best time to eat a colorful, heart-healthy meal!  Fill your plate with green-leafy veggies such as kale, Swiss chard, and lettuce (not iceberg).  Also include asparagus, alfalfa sprouts, celery, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, kelp and seaweeds, mushrooms, and cucumbers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Eating watermelon is probably one of the fasted ways to cool yourself off - actually, all melons, such as cantaloupe and honey dew will help you to stay hydrated and reduce the heat.  Other fruits include apples, bananas, pineapples, kiwi, strawberries, and lemons.  While pears and oranges are cooling fruits, its also important to eat in season, and these two fruits are usually at their peak in the colder months. 

Proteins                                                                                                                                                                                      It's a little more difficult to find proteins that have cooling properties, but they are still important for energy, muscle and nerve repair, hormone balance, and other vital chemical reactions in your body.  Mung beans are probably the most cooling protein that you could add to your diet this summer.  Soy beans and tofu are also powerful sources that will cool you down - just make sure that you eat in moderation and from a source that's organic and non-GMO!  Not a fan of beans... well, rabbit meat is also very cooling.  Eggs are not only the "perfect protein," but can also help you reduce the intensity of the summer heat.

Grains                                                                                                                                                                                        Even though everyone seems to be on an "anti-carb" frenzy, grains are still important, as they benefit nerve conduction, provide energy, and help to regulate cholesterol by providing fiber.  The trick is to rely on complex carbohydrates, as opposed refined carbohydrates (i.e. chips, sugar, white flour, cookies).  Some yummy grains to try would be barley, buckwheat, millet, and wheat - not if you are gluten-free, of course!

Beverages                                                                                                                                                                                The most important beverage you can consume this summer is water!!!  You need to stay hydrated!  And if you get bored, try adding some fresh lemon, cucumber, or peppermint!  Some wonderful teas include peppermint tea, green tea, and chrysanthemum tea.  Chilled peppermint tea is one of my favorite ways to "beat the heat!" 

Don't forget...                                                                                                                                                                        TCM is all about balance!  So if you want to eat a food that is considered to be hot, like chicken, try combining it in a salad of fresh greens and tomatoes.  Or you absolutely have to have some ginger tea, try adding some lemon!  There are no hard and fast rules.  And don't overdo it either!  Eating too many cold and cooling foods can really upset your digestion!  Gently focus on incorporating some of these foods into your diet and see how you feel!                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me or schedule an appointment!