As we step slowly towards peak summer, it’s time to think of how we can balance the summer heat by consuming food items which balance the body pitta (heat) and are cooling in nature. Summer is the season of high pitta. During this time, the heat outside and inside the body increases.
Also your body faces a threat of dehydration in this season. To counter these problems, you must take care of your nutrition. Some food items which calm the agni of the body are:
Barley: They are round grains which look white after husking. Barley cools the body post digestion. It can be consumed in different forms like barley water, barley grain salad, barley flour mixed with wheat flour for chapatis and barley grass juice mixed with aloe vera juice and tomato. Barley is not only great for the intestine and liver but is also good for the kidneys. It helps relieve water retention and swelling experienced in summers, especially by women. Just drink a glass of barley and wheat grass juice in the morning to get rid of water retention.
Water: The best way to balance the body’s water is by drinking more more of it. Our body is made up of two thirds water and whenever there is an imbalance in the body, you can treat it by letting the wisdom of the body prevail. In order to auto-balance the body, keep a water fast for a day. During a water fast you can consume nothing but water for an entire day. Of course, you can add a few drops of lemon juice to make it more palatable (but do not turn it into a shikanji by adding salt or sugar).
Summer fruits: Consume as many summer fruits as possible. Fruits have natural sugar, which unlike refined sugar, is cooling and healthy for the body as it balances the pitta of the body. Sweet rasa is one of the chief rasas to balance the agni of the body. Fruits can be consumed as whole fruit, chaat or in the form of shakes.
Vegetables: Bitter and astringent vegetables are very cooling for pitta of the body. You can consume vegetables in the morning as a juice comprising beetroot, tomato, bottle gourd, mint, ginger and half an apple for flavouring.
You can also make fresh salads like boiled potatoes, olives, gherkins, cherry tomatoes, chopped almonds, lettuce, rocket leaves, bell peppers, etc., all tossed together in a pot with a dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Herbs: Rose water, rose leaves, saunf, elaichi and khus are some useful spices for summers. This season, you must avoid high pitta foods such as fried foods, garam masala, sesame seeds, mustard oil, non-vegetarian foods and eggs.
From HT Brunch, April 15
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch