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Living with the Seasons - Summer

During the Summer season, plants grow fast in summer, people act energetically, and the body’s energy and blood become more vigorous than in the other seasons. Traditional chinese medicine claims that the physiological changes make the heart over-function, and there is too much yang energy flowing outward.

According to the five elements theory, an over-functioning heart can restrict the lungs. It is advisable to eat more food with pungent flavors and reduce bitter flavors; this strengthens the lung and maintains the normal sweating mechanism during summer.

Sweat is the fluid of the heart; excessive sweating can affect our heart and weaken the mind causing symptoms like being easily annoyed, low spirit, restless and sleeping difficulties. Foods with sour and salty flavors help to ease these symptoms.

Summer is hot and rainy in some regions. Any period where there is excessive rainfall can cause an abudence of dampness to form in our body which can affect our motor abilities and lead to lethargy, weakness, fever, thirst, lack of appetite and possibly loose bowels. Some foods are recommended for keeping the body cool and balanced, such as :




mung beans (pictured)


lotus root/seed

Job’s tears (good for draining dampness from the body)

bean sprouts

duck and fish




mango, lychee, guava,




bitter gourd

In general, the daily diet should contain more vegetables and fruit at this time so as to stimulate the appetite and provide adequate fluids. Summer is the time when we should sweat more and urinate less as our bodies way of eliminating fluids. It is imperative to drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fruits to replenish the water we lose throughout the day to avoid catching summer heat. Our next article will touch upon summer heat , commonly known as sun stroke.

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