Summer - a season that is eagerly awaited during the harsh winter months and deeply regretted when it comes to an end.
Summer also brings high temperatures, sweating and environmental pollution provoking various discomforts such as rashes, acne, peptic ulcer disease, tachycardia, hyperactivity, diarrhoea, premature skin ageing and emotional disorders such as irritation, nervousness, anger and frustration.
The summer heat causes a loss of fluids and thus weakens the body. The days are getting longer, the rest periods shorter and the body is no longer able to reconstitute its energy reserves. This can be balanced with the help of a healthier lifestyle and a lot of fresh air. According to Ayurveda, summer is considered a Pitta season with fire and water being the dominant elements. In order to prevent the Pitta Dosha from increasing and negatively affecting the body, Ayurvedic science offers important nutritional and lifestyle advice.
First of all, a correct nutrition begins with a diet based on refreshing and sweet foods, such as fruits and vegetables, rice and barley, ghee, green soybeans and fresh vegetables, coconuts, cucumbers, melon and watermelon. Avoid red meat, cured meats, aged cheeses, chocolate, honey, elaborate and rich dishes, very spicy spices and overly salty or sour tastes.
Prefer refreshing herbs and mild spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel and mint and keep your body hydrated with water, fresh fruit juices, coconut or rice milk that should be drunk slowly. Warm herbal teas are also recommended as they help to maintain the body temperature and limit perspiration.
Soft drinks should be avoided as well as caffeine which increases the body temperature. Alcohol should be kept to a minimum, too because it causes vasodilation and excessive transpiration of the skin.
Foods that aggravate Pitta are chilli, aubergines, tomatoes, garlic, dried ginger, black pepper, dried fruit, fermented foods, spicy foods, heavy proteins, mustard oil and molasses.
Breakfast is the first meal of the day that interrupts the nocturnal fasting.
A good option is an oatmeal with almond milk, which is easy to digest. Even seasonal hard fruits such as nectarines or apricots are a good choice. Dinner should be the lightest meal of the day, as the digestion slows down in the evening. Further cooling effects are provided by the anti-inflammatory and healing properties of steamed vegetables.
Good nutrition is an important part but a correct lifestyle can provide precautions, too.
In the summer, the best type of exercise is associated with water: swimming in or walking by the sea helps the body to cool down and to reactivate the circulation.
Sun exposure is beneficial for skin and body and has positive effects on creativity and well-being. Ayurveda science recommends a 10 to 15 minute walk in the sun, avoiding the hottest hours of the day. The sunrays favour the production of vitamin D by the body, necessary to fix the calcium and to get stronger bones.
During lunchtime protect yourself from the sun, avoid sunburns and any kind of intense physical activity (except swimming). You should prefer cool, shady places with a light breeze, lots of vegetation and lakes or rivers around. Even moonlight walks have a calming effect on Pitta. Clothes also have an influence: colours like white, green, turquoise and blue refresh the skin after excessive sun exposure and favour well-being, while excessively strong and bright colours are to be avoided.