Surviving the Dog Days of Summer
As summer arrives, everybody should be thinking about staying fit during the hot, humid days. But what can people do to stay fit without suffering from the effects of summer's intense heat? Women of China has asked some doctors, who practice traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), for some suggestions.
Wang Yinglin, a doctor at the Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, suggests, compared with other seasons, it is OK to stay up later at night and get up earlier in the morning. He also suggests that middle-aged and elderly people take a one- to two-hour nap each afternoon.
A proper diet, especially during the summer, is important, Wang adds. As you secrete less gastric juice, and drink more water on hot days, which dilutes your hydrochloric acid, your digestive system weakens, he said. Therefore, you should eat light foods, which are nutritious, and you should avoid oily, fried foods. However, eating light food does not mean turning vegetarian. You should never refuse to eat meat, even during the hot days of summer, as meat contains nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus and ferrum. It is good to eat lean meat, eggs, milk, fish and bean products. According to traditional Chinese medical science, most of the vegetables that taste bitter can relieve internal heat. Therefore, you should eat bitter vegetables, such as sow thistles and bitter gourds. Such foods can help relieve summer heat, eliminate fatigue and bring the spleen and stomach into harmony.
Despite the hot weather, you should also do some exercises, such as taking a walk, dancing or taijiquan (a kind of traditional Chinese shadow boxing) to keep fit. You could do the exercises early in the morning for about an hour.
Combating Summer Heat
Special soups can help drive the summer heat away. The following are four soups, which are easy to prepare, that will help ease summer heat:
Soup to Help with Digestion
Ingredients: 50g of hawthorns, licorice roots, malt and thin-mint leaves.
Directions: Wash the hawthorns, licorice roots and malt. Place in a pot, add water and stew until boiling. After 10 minutes, add the mint leaves, cover the pot and stop heating the soup. About five minutes later, remove the dregs and serve.
Effects: The soup helps relieve summer heat, quench thirst, improve the functions of the spleen and help with digestion. It can also prevent and cure some common diseases, such as colds due to wind heat, fevers and headaches.
Soup to Nourish Yin
Ingredients: 12g of fruit of Chinese wolfberries and Chinese magnoliavine (a TCM), 9g of licorice roots and thin-mint leaves, and some white sugar.
Directions: Wash the fruit of Chinese wolfberries, Chinese magnoliavine and licorice roots and place in a pot. Add some water and stew until boiling. After 10 minutes, add the mint leaves, cover the pot and stop heating the soup. About five minutes later, add some white sugar and mix well.
Effects: The soup nourishes the yin and cures heatstroke and internal fever.
Soup to Moisten the Throat
Ingredients: 15g of roots of Zhejiang figworts and tubers of dwarf lilyturfs (a TCM), 5g of tangerine stalks and licorice roots, 10g of sterculia seeds and some white sugar.
Directions: Wash the roots of Zhejiang figworts, tubers of dwarf lilyturfs, tangerine stalks and licorice roots and place in a pot. Add some water and stew until boiling. After 15 minutes, add the white sugar and the clean sterculia seeds. Cool the soup and keep in a refrigerator. You may serve it any time.
Effects: The soup quenches thirst and cures acute and chronic pharyngitis.
Soup to relieve Internal Heat
Ingredients: 20g of cogon rhizome (a TCM), cordate houttuynia, honeysuckle and henon bamboo leaves, and some white sugar.
Directions: Wash the cogon rhizome, cordate houttuynia, honeysuckle and henon bamboo leaves and place in a pot. Add some water and stew until boiling. Stop heating the soup after 20 minutes, then remove the dregs, add the white sugar and mix well. Cool the soup and keep in a refrigerator. Serve two or three times a day.
Effects: The soup relieves internal heat, stops bleeding and cures cough.
Use Electrical Appliances Properly
Zhu Jihong, director of the emergency department at Peking University People's Hospital, suggests people should use their household electrical appliances properly. He urges people to place the appliances, especially refrigerators and TV sets, in well-ventilated areas. That, he says, will make it easier to dissipate the heat generated by the appliances. He also urges people not to start the appliances frequently, otherwise the great electrical current will cause excessive internal heat during the hot days of summer, and that could damage the appliances.
To protect your household electrical appliances, you should not use them to excess; for example, you should use your vacuum cleaner, at most, for half an hour, and a computer, in a room without an air-conditioning, for no more than four hours. You should turn the TV off after it has been used between four and six hours. You should also use your air-conditioner in a reasonable way. If you fail to use it properly, you will damage the appliance, and you might harm your health.
When you use an air-conditioner, you should keep your room temperature between 25-27 celsius, which is about 8 degrees lower than the outside temperature. If you keep the room too cool, you might catch a cold, due to the difference in temperatures between the air-conditioned room and the outside. After you have used the air-conditioner for two or three hours, you should turn it off and open the windows. You should not stand directly under the air-conditioner, as the cool air will cause your pores to shrink. That will prevent proper perspiration, which can result in an endocrine disorder.
You should have the filters of your air-conditioners cleaned and disinfected every 20 days, to prevent bacterium from growing.