Keep the heat off with summer foods!!!

Keep the heat off with summer foods!!!

Thursday, 08 March 2012 12:17

Why on earth could consuming the same amount of foods like fish, bananas, tomatoes, cashews etc over the next few months as you did during winter, have a significantly different effect on your health? Well, because summer is just around the corner and just as the seasons change, the clothes we wear change, the foods we eat should change also. Naturally we do this to some extent (more salads less casseroles, more seasonal fruit, cooler drinks etc) but often due to our focus/pre-occupation with calories, fat levels etc, we tend to overlook the different ‘qualities’ in food (how heating/cooling they are, if they are sweet or sour etc). In Maharishi Ayurveda, the overall effect of these qualities has a tremendous bearing on your level of balance, health & happiness. Eating too much of certain foods at certain times of the year can directly lead to health imbalances & conversely eating certain foods can eliminate problems & create perfect balance.

Today we take a look at…The Best Foods for Staying Happy & Balanced in Summer.

* Note: These recommendations are obviously general guidelines only. Everyone has a unique constitution & state of balance/imbalance, so the idea is not to get obsessed about these lists. Still eat things you enjoy, just have an awareness of avoiding too many things that can more easily create imbalances at this time & favour foods you like, but that also create balance.

With summer, the obvious quality most dominant in Nature is HEAT (and heat dries things, so DRYNESS too). Externally, and therefore ‘internally’, things get ‘hotter’, so to balance this, we generally favour more COOLING foods & beverages & reduce ‘heating’ ones. Now, we all know chilli’s & pepper are heating, but we don’t always realise that things like fish, bananas, tomatoes, cashews, salty things & alcohol etc, add significant heat to our body’s also.

Below we’ve listed some general guidelines for Summer based on balancing the governing principle that is most dominant when the weather is hot.

* If you generally tolerate the heat well, then obviously you don’t need to be as vigilant with what you eat (simply ‘reducing’, not avoiding heat aggravating things is fine). However, if you do dislike the heat, get anything like heat rashes, eye/skin problems, anger/frustation, impatience, acid stomach, excessive sweating etc in summer, by following these guidleines more strictly (i.e. ‘avoiding’ heat aggravating foods where possible), you should notice substantial improvements. ** If you have an ‘angry/impatient’ partner, it can be a good idea to offer to cook…and load things up with nice ‘cooling’ foods!!!

Tips: Summer Food Guidelines:



Specific recommendations:


Meats: Red meat, Seafood (especially shellfish…okay on Christmas Day!!!), Egg yolk.

Grains: Corn, Millet, Rye, Brown rice

Dairy: Yogurt, Sour cheese/Yellow cheeses, Sour cream, Cultured milk.

Vegetables: Hot pepper, Radishes, Tomatoes(the small ‘Roma’ tomatoes are better if need be), Beets, Onions, Garlic (very heating!).

Fruits: Sour fruits – Grapefruit, Olives, underripe Pineapples, sour/unripe Oranges, Bananas(especially if not ripe), Plums unless sweet.

Sweeteners: Honey and Molasses in large quantities.

Oils: Sesame, Mustard, Corn oil.

Legumes: All legumes except Lentils, Mung beans and Tofu – especially Peanuts (peanuts are a legume!!).

Spices: Cayenne, Chills, Black Pepper, Salt/Mustard Seeds/Ginger/Fenugreek/Cloves in high quantities.

Nuts: Cashews, Brazils, Pistachios, Unblanched Almonds


Meats: Chicken, Turkey best.

Grains: Wheat, White rice, Barley, Oats

Dairy: Milk, Ghee – Soft cheeses (Ricotta/Cottage etc) okay in small quantities.

Vegetables: Asparagus, pumpkin, carrots, cucumber(v.cooling – great), cabbage, sweet potato, okra, green beans, green leafy vegetales, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, sprouts, zucchini.

Fruits: Sweet fruits – Grapes, Melons, Peaches, Avocado, Coconut, Mangoes, Oranges/pineapples/plums (if v.sweet).

Sweeteners: All sweeteners except honey & molasses.

Oils: Olive oil usually best, Coconut oil – Almond oil okay, Ghee (only if home-made/properly made),

Legumes: Lentils, Mung beans, Tofu

Spices: Fennel, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Coriander, Cardamom. ‘Small’ amounts of Ginger, Cumin, Black Pepper, Cloves, Celery seed, Fenugreek, Salt, Mustard seeds.

Nuts: Blanched Almonds, Unsalted Macadamias & Pine nuts in small quantities.

* NOTE: Re; DRINKS. Are ‘COLD’ Drinks okay in Summer???

We often labour the point of avoiding drinking ice-cold beverages due to it’s disastrous impact on digestion. In summer, this recommendation is obviously less strict. However, our digestive fire is not as strong in summer, so it is still important to avoid ‘ice-cold’ drinks generally. If done irregularly or you have just run a marathon in 38 degrees & are suffering hyperthermia then fine. If you need to ‘cool down’, then cooler drinks (without being ‘ice-cold’), are usually okay. For general daily fluid intake (water etc), room temperature or slightly cool drinks are generally best.

And Speaking of ‘Hot’ Foods:

One day, at a fancy Restaurant, a man suddenly yells out, “My son’s choking! My son’s choking! He swallowed a Huge Chilli! Help! Please, anyone! Help!”

A man from a nearby table stood up and announced that he was quite experienced at this sort of thing. He stepped over with almost no look of concern at all, wrapped his hands around the boy’s genitals, and squeezed. Out popped the Chilli. The man then went back to his table as though nothing had happened.

“Thank you! Thank you!” the father cried. “Are you a paramedic?”

“No,” replied the man. “I work for the Tax Department.”


Mark Bunn

Mark Bunn – is a leading natural health researcher specialising in Ayurvedic medicine, author of the three-time best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘ and one of Australasia's most popular health and performance speakers.  Mark is also CEO of David Lynch Foundation Australia.