Ayurvedic Tips for Staying Cool This Summer Part One: Food
Ah Summer; Pitta season, or the season that has the most in common with Pitta Dosha at least. Pitta is composed of the elements of fire (primarily) and water (to a lesser degree). It has hot, oily, sharp, light, sour, fluid, and pungent attributes – many of the same qualities we think of to describe the season. According to Ayurveda our everything that we come in contact with inside and out has an impact on us. With the influx of Pitta qualities in our surroundings, it is no wonder that many of us get a little (or a lot) Pitta aggravated this time of year…and if you already have Pitta in your constitution, watch out!
There are many things Ayurveda can recommend to help cool us down and bring our Pitta (and other Doshas) back into balance. In this post I’d like to look specifically at food suggestions. In Ayurveda, food is medicine and what you take into your body can make all the difference.
Pitta Reducing Food Tips
- As a general rule, favour foods that are sweet, bitter and/or astringent, limiting foods that are pungent, salty and sour.
- Savour the fruits of summer: Most fruit is light and cooling by nature making it perfect to lower the rising pitta. In addition to being sattvic which promotes lightness, clarity and contentment, fruit is thirst relieving, cooling and mildly cleansing. Fruits that are ripe and sweet are essential. This is because fruit that is more green and sour is heating not cooling.
- Watch the heat content of your food: foods that have a higher temperature (soups/stews) will increase heat in the body, as will spicy, pungent foods. Favour lighter, cooler meals
- What you drink makes a difference. We all know how important it is to stay hydrated in the summer, but did you know that the ice cold beverage you may be reaching for may not be the best way to stay cool? Cool or room temperature water (not ice cold) infused with lime, cucumber and/or mint are all great options. Teas made with peppermint, licorice, fennel or rose are also great cooling options.
- Oils: did you know that some oils are naturally warming and others cooling? the best oil choices for summer include: Coconut, oilve and sunflower oils. (this goes both for what you put in your body and what you use on your body)
- Use cooling herbs and spices like coriander, cilantro, fennel and cardamom.
- Eat meals at routine times, and in a calm environment (try not to multi-task while you eat).
Disclaimer: Each individual is unique and therefore may have more unique needs than can be covered in a general summary. This article is meant as a general guide only. For custom Ayurvedic recommendations, a consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner is recommended.
Stephanie Kincade is available at The Floatation Centre on Tuesdays and Fridays. To book your Yoga or Ayruveda consultation, please call 902.453.5628 or book online at www.thefloatationcentre.ca