Do you ever find yourself being overheated in the summer?
Or you just can’t seem to get cool and you’re irritable, you’re not eating well. Well, today we’re going to be talking about some of the top foods to help cool our body, so we can feel great and have a fun summer all the nutrition information out there today, Everything’s conflicting completely confusing, how are we supposed to be healthy if you can meet experts category. This is outspoken nutrition. I’m your host, Laura Timbrook, and we’re gonna break it all down, you know we can’t talk about cooling foods unless we talk a little bit about the origin and where they came from. So when we talk about cooling foods or in the winter and when we’re talking about warming foods, really we’re referring back to Chinese medicine so if any of you were a child of the 80s and 90s. You remember we all used to wear these yin and yang, necklaces, it was the black teardrop twined with the white with the black circle and the white circle in the various parts of them and what they really were for is harmony. So you have Yin, and then you have Yang and. Each part has a little bit again, or a little bit of Yang in it that’s where those circles come in and they basically intertwine and it creates harmony, and in Chinese medicine, when our bodies are in harmony or healthy or vibrant we have a sustainable life. And when our bodies are out of balance that’s when sicknesses and illnesses come into play so for Chinese medicine, we want to have that balance. So, what does that mean well it really talks about all aspects of life today we’re actually going to be talking about the food aspect. So when it’s hot outside, we want to cool our bodies off, so we want more Yin foods more of those cooling foods in. Now I know what some of you are probably thinking but Laura you usually are pretty solid, and the science and how things work, why are we talking about Chinese medicine, well, we’re talking about Chinese medicine for a few reasons. One, it has a very long history of helping people, you know, whether we have science that real hard science to back it up or not, it has a long history we have to look at the history. But beyond that, it actually does have some science behind it and a link you to an actual study that was done that actually did find some properties of certain foods found out how they were cooling or warming based on hard science properties so it definitely does have its weight and it’s something that we need to be looking at. And, you know, the benefit comes in common sense, if it’s hot outside, We probably don’t want to be eating foods that are going to make us hotter. Again, when we’re looking at that yin and yang of it’s hot outside, we want to take in more cooling foods. So let’s talk about some of the top cooling foods. When we talk about this, we’re going to see the relationship between seasonal eating and yin and yang foods come into play. And this is again where we’re seeing how beneficial seasonal eating is. Let’s take a look at top foods that help us cool our bodies. So the first one we have is going to be no surprise to any of us listening is watermelon. this is the food that literally defined summer, you cannot go to a summer barbecue without watermelon is that great food, you feel cooler when you’re eating it and one of the things when science looked at what foods coolest they were noticing foods with higher water content. And the crazy thing is during the summer we need more hydration. This is where, you know, Eastern medicine meets Western medicine it’s coming together we’re seeing that food like:
Watermelon that’s grown in the summer can help cooler bodies off and is a great treat you can eat it plain, right off the rind, you can throw it in your cocktail. It is a great food, you can even make desserts out of watermelon. I mean, watermelon is literally the epitome of summer. The next one we have up is one that’s pretty close to the epitome of summer as well.
Cucumber, cucumbers, we often see in spas where they’re putting them over people’s eyes to help reduce the puffiness. This is a great food for cooling your body and surprising, again, high in water content so this is also adding hydration into your body, cucumbers are a great addition to your summer barbecue. When you’re feeling overwhelmed and hot. Let’s try munching on some cucumbers and watermelon, which might I add, cucumbers and watermelon is a great combination for a summer salad. Next up we have the herb,
Mint, listen, there is a reason why we’re sitting on the beach and we’re ordering mojitos, because it’s cooling us men is naturally cooling, think about all those muscle creams when you pull a muscle and there’s inflammation, all those cooling creams have a mint aspect on it because it’s cooling so you can even throw in your watermelon cucumber salad or you can drink some water with some fresh mint in this. All of this will help cool your bodies on those hot summer days. After that we have
Spicy peppers, there is a reason why dishes, close to the equator, often use hot peppers, and our spicy is because that spice, even though it’s quote-unquote hot, it’s actually cooling your body it’s triggering your body’s cooling system. So another reason, where a spicy Margarita is a great summer drink.
Ice Pops are a great way first you get the hydration of ice and water or coconut water whatever you’re making your ice pops in. But then you also have the higher water content of the fruit, fresh fruit especially berries or melons, will help cool the body so I really like ice pops now you’re probably wondering, what about ice cream is a great summer tree, however, ice cream is more Yang than it is him because it’s a little bit harder to digest, your body has to ramp up its digestive juices to break down those cases and the proteins and enzymes in the milk. So it usually raises your body temperature. However, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of ice cream but if you do find yourself really hot this summer, ice pop is your better bet to help cool you off. We then have other things like leafy greens, again, higher water content so if you’re having more of your lettuces in your romaine or something like kale, collard might be a little bit more warming, however, leafy greens themselves are a bit more cooling dandelions and radishes, again, are more of our cooling foods.
Seafood like our crab or clams or oysters. All of these are cooling foods seafood, Tofu is another great option.
We have such a wide range of foods that are cooling in the summer and if you look at the seasonal eating all the foods that are listed are really seasonal foods so if you are looking for the food foolproof way of really adding cooling foods into your diet if you’re following eating for the seasons if you’re buying the fresh local produce found at your local farmer’s markets you’re naturally eating more of the cooling foods.
It’s kind of interesting when we go to summer barbecues, we think of hamburgers and hotdogs where those foods are all warming, but again when we look at Chinese medicine we need that harmonization so not telling you to give up your hamburger because certainly, I am not going to a barbecue and not eating a hamburger, but if you’re going to a barbecue and you’re eating the hamburger, try maybe having a salad with it some cucumbers, a little bit of watermelon rounded out with a nice pop and a jalapeno Margarita. That is a perfect cooling Summer Picnic menu because you have some of those in, and some of those Yang foods, and really in the summer we want to be a little bit more Yin when it comes to our foods in the winter, a little bit more Yang to keep us warmer but you need that balance, and that is what it’s all about so does cooling foods really work well you try it and tell me, but I can tell you for me from my perspective if I were to go to a barbecue and eat a hamburger and then all kinds of pasta salads potato salads very Yang based foods. I’m going to feel sluggish I’m going to feel tired I’m not going to feel like my peppy normal self but if I were to go and have a hamburger and some fresh fruits and salads with greens and cucumbers, and that jalapeno Margarita. Now, these are more foods that are cooling I am more likely to be more vibrant and more awake, I feel a little bit better my digestive systems working better I don’t feel so sluggish. So food really does matter.
Now if you’re having hot flashes because you find yourself going through menopause or cooling foods gonna make a huge difference to take your hot flashes away, probably not, but they could help you be a little bit happier and not totally overheating your body, they are not the cure-all. They are just a solution that can help enhance your body’s ability to cool itself off.
It’s always important to make sure we’re keeping our hydration, make sure our electrolytes are up because sometimes it’s not only about water. It’s making sure we have all those electrolytes vitamins and minerals into our system so if you’re finding yourself hot in the sun all day, make sure that you’re hydrating properly, and I know a lot of people don’t like Gatorade, but if you find yourself gardening for hours in the sun, Gatorade is what it’s there for, you could do coconut water as well, but I do find a lot of people, quite frankly, Gatorade cheaper, and for a lot of us is a little bit tastier than coconut water so we want to make sure that we’re taking care of our bodies. During the summer, cooling off staying in the shade you know that common sense, sun, and heat, safety, we hear all about during this time of the year. That’s what we want to focus on.
I hope you all enjoy today’s episode. As always, don’t forget to eat your effing veggies, and feel free to throw in a Mint Mojito or a Jalapeno Margarita this week and I will talk to you all next week.