In natural medicine, we use patterns observed in nature to inform how we think about the body. For example, summer is the season of Fire according to the 5-element theory of Chinese Medicine. It is a time of expansion and abundance, of joy and relaxation. Many people have more energy because of the longer and warmer days in the summer season. Drawing comparisons between seasons, elements, and body processes can help illustrate how the body can work best. When the internal environment (inside the body) is in harmony with the external environment, it promotes optimal health throughout the seasons.
One way to harmonize your insides with your outsides is to eat with the seasons.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to some, summer is one of the best times to eat hot and spicy foods. Spicy foods cause the pores to open and be expansive, just like everything in nature during the summer. It promotes the sweating response, which allows the body to cool down more effectively. Additionally, certain light, cooling and water-rich foods can be helpful, as they provide necessary hydration and cooling effects.
Here are some foods that tend to support the body in the summer season: a variety of fruits and vegetables including salads, sprouts (mung, soy and alfalfa), cucumber, berries, tofu, flower-leaf tea (chrysanthemum, mint and chamomile), apples, watermelon, limes, lemons, dispersing hot-flavored spices (red and green hot peppers, cayenne, fresh ginger, horseradish and black pepper).