Summer is the time to include more cooling foods. You can look for sweet, bitter and astringent tastes to satisfy your summer body. Think peaches, berries and watermelon for sweet hydration. Go with radishes and dandelion for a bitter, pungent flavor punch.
In addition, look for fruits and vegetables that are high in water such as melons, cucumber, celery and tomato. Summer is also the best season for eating more raw foods – salads, cold soups and smoothies. These crisp and cooling foods will help you stay cool, hydrated and beautiful despite 100 F and 90 percent humidity!
Melon (and, as the name might incicate, especially watermelon) is very high in water and deliciously sweet. Melons are loaded with digestive enzymes and best eaten on their own, on an empty stomach half and hour before your meal to really boost your digestive power. Did you know that cantaloupe has been used for centuries as a diuretic? Also, because melons are so high in water and enzymes, they are great for the skin.
Heard the saying “cool as a cucumber”? Yep – cucumber is the ultimate cooling food. Great as a juice or raw salad, but also great topically as a face mask or cooling patches for the eyes. The ascorbic and caffeic acids found in cucumber can prevent water retention – a great thing for those of us who tend to feel swollen on hot summer days.
Mint is naturally cooling, uplifting and energizing – whether used internally as a fresh herb or tea, or externally as an essential oil. Peppermint can calm muscle spasms and is therefor helpful against stomach cramps and even IBS. Try iced mint tea and toss mint into your salads for extra cooling effects. Chack out my Cool Chocolate Mint Chip Shake Recipe
4. Bitter leafy greens
Dandelion, mustard greens and arugula’s bitter flavor makes them great summer foods. We know that calorie-by-calorie leafy greens packs the most nutritional punch. Loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals these are the superfoods to beat.
The raspberry along with it’s sister, the blackberry, is the strongest berry when it comes to attacking free radicals in the body. Raspberries are also loaded up with ellagic acid – an anti-carcinogenic antioxidant. In fact, raspberries boosts 50 percent more antioxidants activity than strawberries. In some lab tests they’ve found that the ellagic acid seems to reduce the effect of estrogen in promoting growth of breast cancer cells. Berries are also lower in sugar than the other summer fruits.
Radishes are great for the liver! They contain a kind of sulfur that actually increases the flow of bile helping maintain a healthy liver and gallbladder. It also aids in digestion and is known to be a great diuretic. Perfect on the summer barbeque table to balance out some of the alcohol and heavy meats. The bitter peppery flavor makes it a satisfying summer fruit, perfect as a snack or tossed in salads.
7. Coconut oil
A natural sunscreen and skin lubricant, coconut oil cools you down and calms the nervous system. It also smells delightfully tropical and makes me think of long summer days on the beach (even when I’m a hot mess in NYC!)
photo credit: Patryce Bak