Healthy Summer Foods

Oriental medicine is always reminding us that if we harmonize ourselves with the season we can keep our body balanced.  This means that as seasons change, we adjust the foods we eat and the activities we do. 

Summertime is a time of growth, expansion, lightness and outward activity.  The season corresponds to the element of fire, the heart organ and the yang energy of the body.  What does this all mean exactly?  The heat of summer activates the heat/fire/yang aspect of our body and can easily make us overheated if not balanced with appropriate foods and activities.  This overheating can damage the water/yin aspects of body and cause imbalance in the future.

Here are some suggestions of fruits and vegetables that will help your body adjust its temperature and protect you during the long, hot summer days:


Watermelon, apple, cantaloupe, lemon and lime.


Asparagus, sprouts, bamboo, bok choy, broccoli, chinese cabbage, corn, cucumber, white mushroom, snow peas, spinach, summer squash, watercress, seaweed, mung means and cilantro.


Mint, dill and chrysanthemum help cool the body.  Cayenne pepper, horseradish, black pepper and ginger help induce sweating in order to cool the body.


Other helpful tips for the summer season

  • Drink lots of water (at least half your body weight in fluid ounces and even more if you are exercising)!!  Add slices of lemon and cucumber to help quench your thirst and keep your body cooler.
  • Drinking hot tea will help deal with the summer heat by inducing sweating.
  • Avoid overeating.  Eating too much of any food can quickly overheat the body especially at night.  Overeating too many cooling foods can also slow down the digestion.
  • Cook lightly by sauteing or steaming your food.  Stay away from dairy, heavy, greasy, and fried foods.
  • Increased physical activity is encouraged in the summer, however, avoid exercising in the heat of the day.