It's summer time, that time of year when the sun is shining down upon us with its radiance and heat. Depending on geographic location, we are either exposed to a dry heat or a wet heat. Light heat only increases dryness and lightness. Wet heat (humidity) can have an oppressive feeling to it. Regardless, the common element is heat. This is also the time of year where we can take in much Vitamin D (which boosts our immunity) along with other vitamins and minerals from an abundance of foods and sensory stimuli. Too much sun can cause harm, especially if we aren't protected with sun protection. Here are some Ayurvedic recommendations to help pacify the heat.
Here's some quick food for thought:
1) Stay hydrated. Drink cool (not cold) mint tea or basil tea. You can also indulge in coconut water, adding a pinch of cumin powder or corriander powder and pinch of sea salt. Limeade is amazing, especially homemade. Also, simple filtered water (not bottled in plastic) is always ideal. You and add a splash of lime or lemon. Avoid sodas, since this also causes dehydration in the long run, not to mention the other adverse reactions to the body's health.
2) Minimize intake of caffeine products such as coffee which can increase heat in the body and cause dehydration of the cells.
3) Minimize alcohol intake as this can cause the body to deplete itself of water and cause other harm.
4) Use sun protection like sunscreen, maybe over the counter or natural coconut oil (but be careful and don't stay too long in the sun regardless)
5) Get to bed no later than 11. (See #6 for more details on sleep)
6) Avoid exercising at night time. After 2pm melatonin (one of the sleep chemicals) begins to enter into the blood stream and it peaks around 10 pm. This automatically implies that as the day progresses into night, it is natural to begin to feel sleepy after 8:00. This has been something set in stone with our circadian rhythm since the dawn of man/woman, and when we exercise we are actually going against a natural flow of rest which will catch up to us, sooner or later. Going against melatonin means increasing cortisol, adrenaline, and testosterone which are heating chemicals and engage the sympathetic nervous system. We want to be engaged during the day time, hence, sympathetic response. Night time invites our parasympathetic system which has a cooling down effect. It is essential for our body and mind to have its time to cool down so that the overall system can reorganize itself, replenish from digesting the days' impressions and intake of information/food and rejuvenate as it recharges.
7) Minimize or avoid political discussions, especially before bed or during direct sun exposure.
8) Minimize red meat and pork intake, as this can also cause heaviness and increase heat in the body.
9) THINK GREEN. Green vegetables possess chlorophyll and this has a natural cooling effect on the blood. The blood of the plant is alkalizing for the blood of the human and can reduce heat and inflammation. Thank the plants as you take them into your body.
10) Get out into nature. Connect with the elements. Take in all five elements, being earth, water, fire, air and ether/space. So, go for a hike into the woods. Or/and, if you go to the beach, minimize exposure to the peak time since this is way too much heat on the body and depletion can happen, not to mention sun damage and over stimulation of the nervous system. This is one of the reasons why we may feel drained. Nature gives us prana (chi/energy/life-force) but too much heat can deplete our prana which can lead to a cascade of health complications and at least increase the aging process.
11) Carry a bottle of Rose Water and spray it as needed to feel an instant cool.
12) Indulge in fruits that are watery like cantaloupe, watermelon and pineapple. These sort of fruits contain water and sugar which helps to replenish and cool the body. Remember, if you suffer from health complications such as diabetes, too much sugar can affect insulin. If you have edema, watery fruits can increase water weight in the body. It is important to consult with a healthcare consultant (holistic/integrated/allopathic) with concerns.
13) Sweating is a good way for the body to regulate temperature. For certain constitutions, sweating is essential. Vata predominant individuals should avoid sweating too much as this can cause further depletion. Pitta predominant individuals do not require much effort to sweat and should be mindful of water intake versus output because depletion can occur. With Kapha predominant individuals, can afford to sweat as this thermoregulates but also detoxifies.
14) Walks at night after dinner and meditating on the moon is a great practice for the nervous system and mind.
15) Avoid direct sunlight for long periods of time.
DISCLAIMER: This information is meant for educational purposes only and not considered medical advice. Any changes in lifestyle should be reviewed with a qualified practitioner and/or primary care physician if you are currently under their care for specific conditions.