Summer is a bountiful time of fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables. If you have ever tasted a vine ripened tomato, then you know how delicious this season’s food is and eating seasonally has many health benefits in addition to being great for our local environment and economy. Seasonal eating also provides our body with the most nutritious options. 

In the traditional Chinese medicine 5 element theory, summer is represented by the fire element. The heart represents the Fire element. Joy is the emotion that relates to the fire element. From a TCM perspective the heart relates directly to our mental health. When in balance, we feel joy and laughter in our life. We have a clear and calm mind. We sleep well and don’t have anxious thoughts. When out of balance we may experience a lack of joy, depression, have anxiety, mania, heart palpitations, racing heart, and insomnia.  

Summer heat can consume our body fluids like yin and blood and can also exacerbate heat so adding in cooling and hydrating foods is key. The body needs lighter foods during this season. Adding these foods will provide the cooling and hydrating qualities our body needs throughout the summer. For your mental and emotional health seek activities in water such as swimming, surfing and paddleboarding to balance the fire element. Make time for activities that bring you joy. Spend time with people who bring you laughter.  

1.     Watermelon – Know as Xi Gua in pin yin. Watermelon will clear summer heat symptoms and help decrease thirst. Chop up fresh watermelon cubes and add mint for a greater cooling effect. Drink watermelon juice after a workout for extra hydration.

2.     Cucumber – Also cooling and hydrating. You can add them to any salad, cut up slices and add to water and sip on through the day. 

3.     Arugula – This is considered to be a bitter food in TCM and the bitter taste will clear heat from our bodies. Arugula is a great addition to salads and can be used in pesto sauces for a different twist. 

4.     Chrysanthemum Iced Tea – Chrysanthemum is cooling and bitter. Having this tea on hand will help prevent dehydration and keep us cool.

5.     Summer Squash – This is also cooling in nature and can help quench thirst.

 Want to learn more about how to eat seasonally to support your health. Book a nutritional therapy appointment with Dr. Ericka. 


Dr. Ericka Olson

Dr. Ericka Olson

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