Staying Healthy in Early Summer  

Summer Solstice is coming up on June 21st. I am always excited about the longer days and the warmer weather. We are moving into the most yang time of year. Nature is calling to us to go outside and to be active with the extended daylight.  

In the Chinese Five Element system, early summer is correlated to the fire element, the color red, the emotion of joy, bitter flavors, and the heart and small intestine organs. Use the long days to go out and do what you love to nourish and re-balance your heart energy.  When the fire element is out of balance we will notice a lack of joy, our minds will be anxious and we may have trouble sleeping.

You can also balance the heart by eating some bitter foods. When I say bitter foods, these are usually your green foods like kale and arugula, but dark chocolate, green tea, and coffee are all considered bitter as well. Do not go overboard on these foods because too much will also cause your heart to go out of balance. Additionally, place cooling foods like watermelon, cucumber, and hibiscus tea into your diet to balance the summer heat. Eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables in the summer if you are healthy and have a strong digestion. If you find that eating a lot of raw foods even with warming spices like turmeric, ginger, and black pepper causes you to have indigestion, bloating, and loose stools then make sure you cook all of your food as this indicates a weak digestive fire.

Lastly, to combat the summer heat, hydration is a must. Slicing fruit and herbs into water is a great way to make water more appealing.  You can flavor water with mint or cucumber and lemon slices or make it crazier with strawberries and basil or blackberries and dill. Have fun with it and stay hydrated.