Healthy Foods to Beat Summer's Heat
Women, in colorful skirts and tops, are as beautiful as flowers in summer. But the sun's scorching heat can sometimes make them lose their appetites and feel drowsy and listless. What do they need? A cool environment. That is something everybody can create. The following outlines the steps people can take to stay cool, and healthy, during the dog days of summer:
Eat Light, Nourishing Foods
During the summer, the human body sweats a lot, due to the sweltering weather, and that can result in losses of large amounts of fluids and nutrients. As a result, qi (vital energy) can be lost and yin (vital essence) can be impaired. That, in turn, can affect the spleen and stomach, and lead to the decrease of one's appetite and digestive functions. People tend to feel tired and thirsty if they are lacking qi and yin. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine believe people must nourish their bodies during summer.
It is also suitable to have congee. Congee is nutritious and helps with digestion. New-rice congee is fragrant and tasty. Mixed with various coarse food grains and vegetables and fruits, the congee will have various functions. For example, mung bean congee can eliminate heat and toxin; celery congee can clear away heat and relax the bowels; lotus root congee can regulate vital energy or the functions of the spleen and stomach; congee with seeds of Job's tears can relieve dampness and nourish the stomach; and lily bulb congee can moisten the lungs and regulate vital energy.
Many kinds of fruit juice – such as orange juice, apple juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, haw juice and watermelon juice -- are good for people's health. These juices can eliminate heat, produce saliva and/or body fluids, replenish qi and nourish yin.
Medical research indicates bitter-tasting foods help lift people's spirits and relieve pressure. Such foods include balsam pears, lilies and chrysanthemum buckwheat.
Sleep: A Good Start to Any Day
People should avoid sitting, lying and/or sleeping for long periods in shady and cool spots, and people should not use electric fans for long periods of time, as that can result in headaches, facial numbness and muscle pains.
Mind over matter is important. Just thinking about being cool can help a person feel cool. All it takes is imagination and calmness. Such techniques are particularly effective before bed. Just follow these four stages:
First, about half an hour before going to sleep, stop doing things to calm down, which will create a “cool” mood.
Second, use self-suggestion to think sequentially that your body, from head to toes, is relaxed.
Third, imagine you are in a valley with a cool, blowing wind. Or, imagine you are stranded in an immense forest or on a snow-capped mountain.
Fourth, your body and mind melt into your imagination, you feel calm and cool as you drift off to sleep.
Summertime Congee to Freeze the Heat
Various types of congee, which can be dainty, yet thirst quenching, are suitable, and especially good for health. The following are the six most nutritious kinds of congee, some of which have medicinal functions:
Cook mung beans, haricot beans, lotus seeds and lotus leaves with polished round-grain rice. Eat after cooled. It enlivens the spleen and strengthens the stomach.
2. Mung Bean Congee 绿豆粥
One hundred grams mung beans and 100 grams polished round-grain rice. Cook together with water. Since mung beans are sweet and cool, this congee helps clear way toxin and heart-fire. It also helps produce body fluids used to quench thirst.
3. Haricot Congee 扁豆粥
One hundred grams haricots and 100 grams polished round-grain rice. The haricots will benefit the spleen and stomach and prevent diarrhea. This congee has tremendous medicinal benefits, as it can be used to treat fever, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. It is beneficial for the elderly and children who have spleen and/or stomach conditions.
The haricots must be cooked thoroughly.
4. Lotus Seed Congee 莲子粥
Fifty grams lotus seeds and 100 grams polished round-grain rice. Cook together until the lotus seeds are thoroughly cooked. Lotus seeds can help eliminate internal heat, relieve restlessness, invigorate the spleen and stop diarrhea. This congee can nourish the spleen and intestine, and is especially suitable for those who have been suffering from chronic diarrhea.
5. Reed Rhizome Congee 芦根粥
One hundred and fifty grams of fresh reed rhizomes and 100 grams polished round-grain rice. Cut into pieces, decoct, drain the liquid and mix in the rice. This congee is ideal for people who have felt restless and/or have had fever. It is fairly effective, especially with children, in alleviating fever.
6. Lotus Leaf Congee 荷叶粥
One lotus leaf, 100 grams polished round-grain rice. Clean the lotus leaf, then decoct it for the soup. Cook congee with it, and mix in the rice. Eat with sugar. Lotus leaf is effective in eliminating heat. This congee can alleviate the symptoms caused by light heatstroke.
(Source: Women of China English Monthly)