It’s summertime! The season of abundance according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This is the time to enjoy cooling foods like watermelon, yogurt and apples.
It’s also the best time of year to enjoy cooling drinks like chrysanthemum and barley tea. TCM principles state that summer is the most yang time of the year. This not only means that now is the time your body will undergo vigorous metabolic processes. But it also means it this is the best time to become a healthier you, mentally and physically through outdoor exercising and activities, socializing and nurturing your creativity. Read on to learn about summer health and TCM practices.
Understanding nature according to TCM will give you insight into your own health. Chinese medicine believes the body must be balanced for optimal health. Treating the disharmonies requires you to align your body with the seasons. Each season governs certain organs in the human body. Therefore, treatment should be based on a seasonal approach. In short, the balance of our bodies represents a direct reflection of the environment that surrounds us.
Chinese Medicine says that summer governs the heart. The heart is the ruler of the entire human body as it controls the blood and the mind also known as “Shen.” The summer element is fire and the emotion is joy. When the heart is in a balanced state you will feel strong, healthy and joyous. Your mind will be calm and sound. But when there is disharmony in the heart, it is not uncommon according to TCM to have insomnia, heart palpitations, excessive sweating, irritability, moodiness and even speech problems.
Summer Foods to Eat
To keep the heart balanced you should, of course, diet and exercise. Avoid fads and trends, instead, opt for a healthier you with foods that are great for the season. The best foods to eat in the summer based on Chinese Medicine practices are cooling foods. Examples of cooling foods include:
- Cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, summer squash, corn, salads, yogurt, barley and wheat.
- Fruits like kiwi, watermelon, oranges, pears, pineapples, apricots, lemons, peaches, cantaloupe and tangerines.
- Herbs like mint, dill and cilantro.
- Meats such as rabbit and fish.
Its best to drink water but if you are a juice lover, you can feel refreshed with a nice cool glass of watermelon juice. Green and barley tea are also ideal during these hotter months. Green tea helps expel toxins and cool the body as well as calm the mind. It’s also great to incorporate chrysanthemum tea. Chrysanthemum cools the body and skin while promoting a healthy liver function. Chrysanthemum tea pairs well with mint. As we stated, mint is another great summertime food. You should avoid drying foods like dairy, anything fried, coffee, spicy foods and ice cream–yes, we know ice cream is surprising. But ice cold foods such as ice cream have the unfortunate tendency to slow down the digestive system. But regardless of what you eat, even if it’s cooling foods–do so in moderation. Overeating can lead to indigestion and sluggishness.
Summer Health & Your Mental Health
It’s also important to cater to your mind during this time of year. Focus on things and people that bring you joy. Joy is the emotion of the season and that should not be forgotten. Allow yourself to have a good time. Stay out a bit later, socialize with your friends at the rooftop restaurant. Play as if you were a child! Go on adventures, just be sure that everything you do has balance. Don’t forget to drink your water, schedule downtime for yourself to think, meditate and relax. Some great practices to incorporate into your summer routine that will aid in optimal joy are:
- Rise and Shine! Don’t sleep in–instead, wake up a bit earlier
- Allow yourself a daytime nap.
- Go to bed later, yes you need to get up early but you’re taking that midday nap so you’ll have some night time energy!
- Seek water in all ways! Drink water, take cool baths and showers, go swimming and head to water parks.
- Activities that bring you joy—do them!
- Is there a project you’ve been dying to start? This is the time to do it. Let your creativity flow!
Have a Happy Summer! Enjoy it While it Lasts!