This year the summer is really hot, and the temperature is already at its peak, and assumed to sore up in the coming days. Blame it on global warming, deforesting, pollution, or our daily utility emissions; whatever the reason be, the main challenge remains how to survive it effectively and naturally.
The flaming sun is taking away all the body energy and enthusiasm, those sitting in offices, homes, travelling either aid themselves with air-conditioners, coolers, etc.,but these too have their share of ill effects on the body. What can we do to protect our health and also be fresh and energetic ? This has been already explained in the following article.
Now here in this article we shall have a look on some superfoods of the season (summer), which will keep you cooool internally.
1. Pomegranate :
तत्तू स्वादु त्रिदोषघ्नमं तृड्दाहज्वरनाशनम् |ह्रत्कण्ठमुखगन्धघ्नं तर्पणं शुक्रलं लघु ||102||
कषायानुरसं ग्राहि स्निग्धं मेधाबलावहम् ||103||
– Pomegranate (Punica granatum), is one of the best fruit to be consumed in this season, it balances all the three doshas of the body, the juicy sweet and sour fruit helps to maintain body hydration , pacifies pitta and acts as a body coolant. The increased climatic heat results in decreased appetite and indigestion, pomegranate tickles the taste buds, increases appetite, and also improves digestion. It is easy to digest.
As quoted in the above verse , intake of pomegranate quenches the thirst and rejuvenates the senses (tarpan) , it also pacifies excessive body heat, burning sensation and raised temperature. It provides oleation to the body, and enough bolus of energy. It also prevents unnecessary fluid loss from the body.
Pomegranate can be taken singly, or with various foods, its vibrant red colour and tangy taste adds flavours and health to the recipe.
Fresh Pomegranate juice reduces acidity, bloating of abdomen, burning micturition and also gives a tarpan effect. In case of vomitting or loose motions due to excessive heat pomegranate juice should be sipped slowly , to maintain hydratipon and loss of energy.
All the age groups can enjoy the pomegranate treat to beat the summer heat.
2. Kokum (Garcinia indica) :
This delicious fruit is famous for its taste and health benefits, especially used in coastal areas of konkan and Goa. Known as ‘Vrikshamla’ in Sanskrit, it is sour and refreshing, butpacifies pitta. Kokum is known for its rich antioxidant benefits, it pacifies pitta, prevents acidity, improves digestion,helps in weight loss, heals oral ulcers,improves skin texture. It is a wonderful coolant, the kokam juice serves as a refreshing drink in summers and reduces the body heat, very useful in skin rashes or urticaria, relieves acidity and nausea.
Kokum water prevents dehydration, and maintains skin glow. Sol kadhi, a special delicacy made with kokum and coconut milk aids digestion, and has a coolant effect specially good for summers, it cures skin rashes. Kokum is also used as a flavouring agent in various dals and recipies, not only to enhance the taste but also nullify some side effects.
Kokum butter serves good cosmetic purpose in summer for dry chapped lips, to cracked heels and a destress agent, thus glorifying your beauty.
It is preferred over tamarind for its zesty taste, as it doesnt aggravate pitta , is cool in potency, has healing properties along with agnidipan (good appetiser), relieves constipation and much more.
3. Ghee :
Now when it comes to superfoods, how can we forget the all time top-scorer? of course, itcan be none other than cow’s ghee, or as it is called in Ayurveda ‘Goghrit’. Especially when increase in pitta dosha is concerned, ghee is the prime remedy, as explained in
शरीरजानां दोषाणां क्रमेण परमौषधम्|| बस्तिर्विरेको वमनं तथा तैलं घृतं मधु||
Pitta is hot in potency by nature, and in summer this heat in pitta is aggravated and causes heat related ailments in the body, it may vary from simple excessive sweating, itching, acidity, burning, vertigo, to mental irritability, restlessness, and even grave sun stroke.
Ghee taken in any form along with foods like dal, roti, sugar, milk or singly balances Pitta dosha levels physically and mentally. summers are the time when energy levels are low, and there is dislike towards food. Ghee taken in small quantities also provides enough energy and nutrition,cures fatigue, kindles digestive fire and keeps you mentally fit. (NOTE : Ghee should be added seperately after cooking, foods cooked in ghee have different effects).
Over exposure to blazing sun, can at times initiate nasal bleeding, use of ghee as nasal drops controls this. ( NOTE : It is always advisable to visit Doctor in case of nasal bleeding for proper assessment, this is only primary care.
In conditions like excessive burning sensation and dryness of skin, Ghee should be applied locally (application of ghee is beneficial in sunburns) on palms and soles at bedtime; It also helps for peaceful sleep, as raised levels of pitta manifests lack and disturbed sleep.
4. Ragi (Nachani) :
Ragi or finger millet is one of the most nutritious and high therapeutic value foodgrain. The staple food in south indian kitchen is sweet, slight bitter and astringent in taste, but its Vipaak (post digestive taste) being sweet, and cold in potency. It is easy to digest and pacifies pitta. These properties of the red grain serves a coolant effect to the body and is so beneficial in various complaints like excessive thirst, burning sensation of body, cough, anaemia, fever, complications after fever.
Ragi increases bone strength, helps to loose weight, controls blood sugar level and so beneficial for diabetics. Ragi prevents premature ageing and helps in degenerative diseases and prevents malnourishment. It also helps digestion, is a powerhouse of energy and facilitates sound sleep.
Ragi can be consumed in various ways like Ragi balls, roti, ragi dosas, soups, salted porridge, papads,upma, vermicelle, malt, sweet preparations like halwa, cakes ladoo, cookies, porridge, etc. Don’t forget to add ghee to these preparations to overcome the dryness of the grain.
Coriander being sweet and astringent in taste, turns sweet after digestion and is hot in potency. It is tridoshaghna meaning pacifies all three doshas but is specifically beneficial in Pitta dominant ailments.
- In complaints like thirst, vomiting and burning sensation related with fever or sunstroke, dehydration due to hot climate as in summer , Medicated water with coriander seeds (Dhanyak siddha jal) or Dhanyak faanta (Hot infusion)** with black currants and crystal sugar is a good cure .
- Burning of soles and palms is noticed in people with Pitta diseases or those livingin hot climate, application of fresh coriander juices soothes this heat.
- Nasya(Instillation of drops in nose) of fresh juice is useful in nasal bleeding.
Lemon is well known for its tangy juice, raw lemon increases pitta and vata, but ripe lemon reduces pitta.
- Summer heat weakens digestive fire (agnimandya) causing aversion towards food, lemon is an excellent appetiser, it improves digestive strength and also stimulates taste buds.
- Lemon juice/ lemon water relieves complains like indigestion, flatulance.
- The climatic heat in summer leads to excess thirst, this excess thirst is taken care by lemon water.
- Excess sweating results in loss of energy and dehydration, lemon sherbet or lemon water supplements energy and maintains hydration.
- Lemon is a detoxifying herb and has many antibacterial properties and so keeps infections at bay.
- NOTE : Avoid excess use of lemon, since it is sour and hot in potency it may aggravate pitta and vata.
7. Bottle gourd :
Bottle gourd or lauki is slightly bitter and astringent in taste, cold in potency, and reduces pitta and vata dosha. Bottle gourd comes in two forms 1) sweet 2) bitter, sweet variety is used for cooking.
It is a cooling, calming, vegetable with high water content, easy to digest and also facilitates digestion,fights acidity and so all the more beneficial in this season. Bottle gourd juice with a tsp of lemon juice is good diuretic and cures burning micturition.
The high water content helps to quench thirst, prevents fatigue and keeps the body cool and refreshed during summers.
It can be used in variety of preparations like vegetable, pakoda, curry. Kheer & Lauki ka halwa (a sweet delicacy) pacifies pitta and provides enough energy.
8. Snake gourd :
Snake gourd is a creeper vegetable mainly used for cooking but with cosmetic and medicinal values. It is again a natural coolant with high water content, so serves as a good summer vegetable. It easy to digest, also aids digestion, and relieves constipation.
Snake gourd is a good detoxifying agent, good for fever and heat related problems. It is a good liver tonic.
All the vegetables in this group (gourd,eg. ridge/bitter/ash gourd) are healthy for summer due to its cooling effect and easy to digest. You can use best of your cooking skills to make variety of recipies, considering the pitta dominance in the season sweet, astringent and bitter taste should be favoured.
This juicy, watery fruit is definitely the one for the season. It is cool in potency, maintains electrolyte balance and hydration. Melons quench the thirst and is natural diuretic, thus keeps problems like burning micturition, burning sensation of body, UTI due to heat and excessive thirst at bay.
Though beneficial it should be consumed with caution :
- Never over eat watermelon.
- Dont drink water after eating melon
- It is definitely not the fruit for people with weak digestion, asthma, or with excessive urine output.
- Dont eat it in the evening or with other fruits.
10. White onion :
Onions are widely used in all the culinary world wide. White onions are comparatively sweeter, heavy to digest than the red ones. Onions increase kapha, pacify vata, but neither increases or decreases pitta.
- Onions have an antiageing effect on our body, it improves not only digestive strength but also body strength and stability.
- White onions are useful in bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, bleeding piles, etc. which is common in summers.
- Eating onion relaxes your mind and keeps calm.
- It has good rasayan (rejuvenation) and vajikar (aphrodisiac) – improves semen quantity and quality – effect on the body.
- Consumption of white onions helps to keep you cool internally and externally in scorching heat. You can consume raw or cooked onion with meals or simply crush a small white onion and keep it in your pocket or under the cap.
So now, with these 10 Super Summer Foods and your culinary skills, you can cook various delicious recipes, have them raw, juice it or cook it ; singly or in combination and keep yourself coo….oool, calm, beautiful and healthy.