Healthy Cooling Foods for Hot Weather
“…When the science of medicine reaches perfection, treatment will be given by foods, aliments, fragrant fruits and vegetables, and by various waters, hot and cold in temperature.” ~Abdu’l-Baha
PREVENTION IS KEY
Along with all the summer fun comes the heat, which potentially may lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke especially in the very young and the old. The best way to reduce heat exhaustion/stroke is prevention. It almost goes without saying that hydration, including IV hydration, electrolytes, and staying out of the sun especially between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm, are a must to survive the heat waves. According to Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ancient Persian Medicine, partaking of cooling and cold foods during a heat wave reduces the heat within the body, assisting the body in cooling itself internally.
Of course, depending on one’s health condition, even in the heat of summer, cooling foods may not be appropriate for individuals with certain health conditions, so please do consult your Holistique provider for a more personalized evaluation and dietary recommendation.
WHAT DOES COLD/COOLING FOODS MEAN?
Generally, cold and cooling foods are foods which decrease the heat within the body, typically reducing body temperature. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cooling foods create yin and are indicated for yang constitutions generally. Yin foods given to a yin (weakened or cold) constitution in the yin seasons (autumn and winter) potentially weakens the body, while yin foods in the heat of the summer months given to a yin constitution can be balancing.
Warm and warming foods, on the other hand, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, heat the body, increasing body temperature. Warm foods are yang and are beneficial in yin conditions and may be too warming for yang (hot and strong) constitutions. Because summer heat in the Pacific Northwest tends to be more dry and hot rather than humid and damp, we will focus on cold and cooling foods for dry hot weather which should be balancing for the yin constitutions and cooling for the yang constitutions.
In Ancient Persian Medicine, the constitution of foods depends on their metabolic impact on the body. Too much cold (sard) or too much hot (garm) in relationship to one’s body type can lead to disease or can be used to treat disease. Cold foods create sardi (cold) in the body while garm foods create heat (gram). Sard foods can lead to progression of disease in cold constitutions while garm foods can lead to progression of disease in heated states. Prescribing the correct food type, therefore, can be healing for the correct type of condition. Generally, in the summer heat, cooling foods are indicated for most hot conditions, dehydration, overheating, and heat exhaustion/stroke prevention.
CAN I TOLERATE COLD FOODS IN THE SUMMER MONTHS?
Some of you may notice that you may be able to tolerate some of these cold foods in the summer but not in the winter. That is because cooling/cold foods may be too cooling for cold yin constitutions during the winter months. During the summer or warm climates, weakened or yin constitutions generally warm up and one’s tolerance improves for the colder foods. Many yin or cold and weakened health conditions often can tolerate these cold foods in the heat of the summer months and not in the winter.
MY FAVORITE COOLING (Yin/Sard) FOODS
Generally, raw fruits and vegetables, and cold temperature fluids and foods are considered cooling. Whether cooked or raw, certain foods are considered cold or cooling.
Some of my favorite cooling foods to enjoy during the dry hot weather include:
Fruit: watermelon, avocado, strawberries, bananas, figs, kiwi, papaya, lemon/lime, and generally raw fruit
Vegetables: Cucumber, seaweed, lettuce, leafy greens, celery, asparagus, radish, zucchini, summer squash
Nuts/Seeds: Coconut, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts
Grains: quinoa, millet, amaranth
Dairy: Greek yogurt, goat cheese
Proteins: Wild cold water fish, egg whites, organic sprouted tofu
Legumes (best sprouted): Mung beans, kidney beans, lima beans
Spices/Herbs: Dill, cardamon, coriander, cilantro, fennel, mint, green tea
COMBINATION COOLING FOODS TO TRY IN SUMMER MONTHS
Water infused with cucumber alone or in combination with mint
Water infused with watermelon and mint
Fresh watermelon juice with mint
Mung bean soup cooked with cilantro, coriander, cardamon, fennel, and himalayan salt. Squeeze a lemon when ready to serve.
Cooked and cooled Quinoa salad with cooked lima beans and fresh cucumbers, fresh dill, fresh cilantro, fennel root, and celery topped with olive oil lemon, and himalayan salt
100% grass-fed greek yogurt with fresh dill, mint, cucumber, himalayan salt and black pepper
Organic seaweed with cucumber with sesame seed oil, tamari, lemon or lime, rice vinegar, himalayan salt dressing
Cod cooked with dill, cilantro, lemon/lime, and himalayan salt
Dr. Nooshin K. Darvish is a Washington board-licensed Naturopathic Doctor, certified in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine with a Fellowship in Integrative Cancer Therapies. She is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Holistique Naturopathic Medical Center and Holistique IV Lounge. A 1995 graduate, former Chief Resident, and an Affiliate Faculty of Bastyr University, with more than 25 years of clinical practice, Dr. Darvish practices Regenerative, Naturopathic, and Integrative medicine with a passion to assist patients in their transformation towards physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. As a physician, writer, educator, lecturer, and speaker, her mission is to inspire others to become 'agents of transformation'.