Keeping your Cool this Summer and I’m Moving!
Finding your Optimal Health this Summer
Summer is here! It takes a little longer in Portland to arrive, but we can all be grateful for the sunny weather and warm days we have been experiencing lately. Summer is a time of growth and abundant energy. Following the natural rhythms in nature, we should mirror the movement and growth that we see around us. Gardens are flourishing, trees are full of leaves, animals in the wild move about freely, plants are
Summer is about the fire element and the time of the year when yang energy is at its peak. In Oriental medicine the element of fire represents moving outward (like fire raises up and moves outward), heat, maximum energy or yang, being more outgoing, having more passion, enthusiasm, drive and a higher level of energy. We need to harvest this energy and also cultivate our yang.
The fire element also relates to the heart as it provides a residence for our mind and spirit or shen. The heart is the ruler of all the organs and like western medicine is responsible for pumping blood to all the organs, but is also involved in mental and emotional processes in Oriental medicine. When the heart is properly nourished and balanced it maintains our innate wisdom, contentment, and emotional balance and will allow us to be more focused, calm, have a clearer memory, and sleep well. When it is out of balance a person may experience insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating easily, mental restlessness, talking too fast or too much, insomnia, forgetfulness, chest pain, sores on the mouth and tongue, and excessive joy such as laughing inappropriately or for no reason.
Living and eating according to the seasons can help us maintain the necessary balance of our organs and elements. In the summer, because there is so much yang energy or heat, it is best to consume some yin or cooling foods and beverages to provide the necessary balance. Inherently cooling foods tend towards the green end of the spectrum. Few vegetables are warming. Essentially eating foods that are in abundance in nature right now.
Recommendations for Summer Eating and other Helpful Tips
These fruits and vegetables will help your body adjust its temperature and protect you during the long, hot summer days: Apricot, Asparagus, Bamboo, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cantaloupe, Chinese Cabbage, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumber, Dill, Fish, Lemon, Mint, Mung Beans, Orange, Peach , Seaweed, Spinach, Sprouts, Snow Peas, Summer Squash, Tomato, Watercress, Watermelon and White Mushrooms
Green Tea, water with cucumber and/or lemon (room temperature – never with ice), chrysanthemum tea – most importantly stay hydrated!
Other Helpful Tips to Keep you Healthy this Summer:
- Eat in moderation. Over consumption of any food, especially cooling foods, can lead to indigestion, sluggishness and possibly diarrhea. Again it is about balance and still having some warm or cooked foods is necessary. This is just the time of the year where it makes sense to eat more salads and cooling foods.
- Make sure to avoid dairy, fried and greasy foods, and other heavy foods which may cause you to feel sluggish and lethargic.
- Open your heart – try moving through your day without readily passing judgment. Be kind and try to find joy in life…always a good thing to strive for.
- Cultivate your fire energy by being active, enjoying nature, be outgoing, bright, and look for ways to expand your life.
- Consider setting routine bedtime hours and sticking to them even on the weekends.
If you are struggling with your health are interested in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, contact Green Lotus Acupuncture at 503-789-7661 and we can discuss your needs.