What are some Chinese medicine concepts about food and energy in the summer time?
Throughout the year the body goes through cycles. These cycles usually correspond with the seasons. In Chinese medicine, a different set of partner organs correspond to each season. In summer the main organs are Heart and Small Intestine. The Heart has a physical function of controlling blood circulation and the blood vessels, however, the Heart also controls consciousness, sleep and memory so in short the Heart houses the mind. If the Heart is not taken care of, it will be unable to safely house the mind and overtime worry, anxiousness, insomnia, excessive dreaming and heart palpitations will creep in. This is the foremost reason to look after your heart in summer time as it will be sensitive.
What does heat in the summer do to our bodies?
Similar to the environment, heat rises and dries moisture. Heat in our body can cause a red face, red eyes or a bright red tongue with no coating or a yellow coating. Health issues associated with heat include, heat exhaustion, fever, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, high blood pressure, acne, skin eruption, nose bleed, urinary tract infection, constipation, mouth ulcers, thick or yellow phlegm, headache, constipation, excessive eating, shortness of breath, or wheezing.
How can I look after my Heart this summer?
You can adjust your diet according to Chinese medicine theory to keep the body in balance.
For example if you notice you have a red tip on your tongue you can add more cooling foods to your diet (leafy green vegetables, tomato, mushroom corn, polenta and tofu) and reduce warming or heating foods (coffee, spicy food, lamb). Following, I have included a simple recipe with a list of the ingredients properties to give you an idea of a cooling recipe.
If you are in clinic look out for “The Dao of Healthy Eating” by Bob Flaws, where you can find recipes for the summer and look up the properties of foods according to Chinese Medicine diet therapy. Lastly if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me!
Simple Summer Salad
This recipe with help to cool internal heat, as a general rule the foods in the salad are said to be cooling, a bit of fresh ginger is added to support the digestion.
- 1 bunch of silver beet
- 2 fresh tomatoes chopped into wedges
- 1 zucchini chopped into large pieces
- 1 cup of mushrooms cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1cm cube grated ginger
- ½ lemon
- Heat the sesame oil in a fry pan. Add the grated ginger, mushroom and zucchini, and cook for 5 minutes. After ingredients are lightly fried, add the chopped silver beet and soy sauce and cook for another 4 minutes.
- Move ingredients to a salad bowl and add in tomato, and season with lemon juice.
Below are the Chinese medicine properties of the ingredients
Nature and flavour: Sweet and cool.
Functions and indications: Nourishes blood, moistens dryness and relieves constipation.
Nature and flavour: Sweet, sour and slightly cold.
Functions and indications: Clears heat, moistens dryness, treats mouth ulcers, red eyes and dizziness.
Nature and flavour: Sweet and cool, enters intestines.
Functions and indications: Quietens the mind, resolves toxins, treats heat diseases, dry mouth and chest fullness.
Nature and flavour: Salty and cold.
Functions and indications: Eliminates heat and resolves toxins, treats heat problems.