According to Ayurveda, the ancient principles of natural health, the core principle to living is to stay in balance. So when things warm up outside, the secret to great health is to find methods to cool down — mentally, emotionally and physically. This affects everything we do including what we eat, whenever we exercise, and we unwind.
In Ayurveda there are 3 agents which are the basis of everything in the world, known as doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Every aspect of nature is a mix of these 3 — including the seasons.
When Pitta becomes aggravated and overheated we get out of balance. This affects our emotions (eg anger and impatience), our body (eg sweaty, ruddy, very very sensitive skin) and our behaviour
Here are 5 tips to keep you cool:
1. AVOID FOODS THAT HEAT YOU UP
When the body is already hot the last thing you need is to rev up it with food that is hot. Go easy on the curry, chillis peppers and salsas. Foods like yoghurt, cheese and sour cream all add too much heat in Pitta season.
In addition limit salty foods — they’ll leave you dehydrated and aggravate your skin. Small quantities of ginger, pepper and cumin are ok but say no to cayenne pepper. Go easy with tomato, garlic, onion, beets and spinach whenever you can.
2. FAVOUR FOODS THAT COOL YOU DOWN
Sweet, sour, astringent foods are the ones to go for. Very good examples are milk (heat it first and drink it hot ), butter and ghee. Olive, sunflower and coconut oils are fantastic for balancing Pitta.
Sweet, ripe fruits like avocados, cherries, plums, grapes, pineapples, peaches and mangoes are perfect. Mint and coriander are all excellent along with a bit of cinnamon is nice. Asparagus, cucumbers, yams, broccoli, green leaf vegetable, courgettes and green beans are good.
3. Stay Away from ICE COLD DRINKS
What — no ice in my drink? Isn’t that the supreme balance for the heat? Actually. While we need to keep cool, it’s more important to help keep your digestion strong. When the fires of your digestion fire are burning in a way, you are able to assimilate all of the great bits you need from your food while eliminating the not-so-good bits.
4. EAT AT THE RIGHT TIME
An essential part of balancing Pitta and keeping cool is to eat your primary meal in the middle of the afternoon when your digestion fire is strongest. Skipping meals is also a sure-fire way (excuse the pun) to upset Pitta — detect how cranky you feel whenever you miss lunch.
5. EXERCISE WITH A SPLASH
If you’re working outside, do it during the time of the day when nature is the most cool. Early morning is best. Second best is early evening. Going for a run in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is at its strongest is going to aggravate Pitta. Light exercise is recommended like walking and best of all, swimming