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beat summer heat

Stay Cool and Energized: 7 Quick Nutrition Tips for Beating the Summer Heat

herbs nutrition

If you've never survived a Texas summer, here's the scoop:  while a heat wave in February or December is not unusual, by May, it's here to stay.  It's a full 5 months of the year.  In May, you feel the last cool breeze until Halloween.  

Other than wearing as few clothes as possible, and taking up permanent residence next to the pool, what's a person to do?!

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), there's a type of illness is called "Summerheat."  For real. 

Summerheat is an imbalance where you feel

  • lightheaded,
  • tired,
  • excessively sweaty,
  • restless, 
  • have a hard time sleeping.  

Summer season aligns with the Heart organ - the King of the organs.  The element is, naturally, Fire.  To control Fire, we use Water.  Makes sense, right?  The foods that balance us this time of the year are more watery - like cucumbers, tomatoes, and leafy greens.  

Foods That Control Fire

Slightly bitter, cooling foods (not to be confused with COLD food or iced drinks) have a nature that's cool, despite the actual temperature they're consumed at. 

In general, for health, especially in a culture that lives in Air Conditioned comfort, eat most of your meals warm, and avoid iced drinks.  


Eating watermelon is not only seasonal, but it's bright red color corresponds with Heart energy.  It's watery and cooling, even when eaten at room temperature.  

One caveat - stop eating watermelon in the fall.  Eating it past summertime can contribute to Lung weakness.


When it comes to soothing the stomach or a sore throat, peppermint is my choice when the person has a "hot" nature.  If you're more of a cold-natured person, only use mint when you're over-heated. 

It's great in essential oil form, inhaled, or in a tea.  I even use it in a Larb Salad!  Oh, and it grows like crazy in your herb garden if you want to cultivate some of your own.  

Too much mint can lead to dryness, so take note if you have any dry areas (skin, eyes, mucous membranes, etc).  


Mother nature provides.  The foods in-season now (summer) are naturally cooling.  Enjoy cucumber salad (sliced up with tomatoes - which are also cooling, onion, and dressing) or in a sandwich as a substitute for pickles.  

Leafy Greens

This is salad season!  In the winter, I tend to recommend most of my patients eat more warm meals (soup, stews, baked or sauteed foods, etc.), in the summer, salad is back on the menu.  

Green Tea

Even when drank warm (you'll hopefully never hear an acupuncturist recommend drinking iced beverages), it's cooling in nature.  This is my go-to coffee substitute.

Green tea has naturally-occurring phyto-chemicals that prevent caffeine jitters.  It also helps curb an excessive appetite.  (Without the side-effects of certain medications that do so.)  

Coffee, if you're feeling overly warm, should be reduced or avoided as it has a HOT nature.  Even if it's an iced coffee - it's still considered "hot."  


Chrysanthemum is a great herb to combine with others like mint or schisandra into a cooling summertime tea.  It benefits the eyesight, and has a calming nature.  You can find it at a Chinese food market.  Or grow your own.  


Water is always in season.  Please stay hydrated this time of the year!  Get a fun water bottle and keep it on you at all times. 

If electrolytes are your thing, go for it.  If not, plain water works just as well.  Or add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a pinch of sea salt to make your own natural, sugar-free (mostly) electrolyte drink.  

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