Digestive Health For The Late Summer Months
Our digestion in the summer is weaker not stronger. Summer has the qualities of hot, dry, sharp and penetrating and is the Pitta Season (read more about Pitta). It is a time where the sun continues to dry the earth and our body. Dryness is a relief to Kapha but can play havoc with the Pitta and Vata constitutions. Pitta people will feel the effects of the heat if not taken care of. Pitta imbalances will include: rash, sunburn, hot flashes, diarrhea and oily skin. Emotionally you may feel anger, impatience, judgmental and critical. By the end of summer, when the thermal accumulation intensifies, this upward-moving heat (called udvartina in Ayurveda) can dry out the respiratory tract, causing sensitivity to heat, certain foods, environmental irritants, and pollutants.
Ignoring these natural laws and eating lots of dry grains, meats, hot, spicy foods or acidic drinks (coffee, beer, and wine) will easily dry out, irritate and inflame the body’s delicate mucous membranes, where the good immune-boosting microbes live. Excess dryness in the gut and respiratory tract can compromise the immune strength that is much-needed during the winter. These mucous membranes must stay moist in order for healthy immune function.
TIPS TO HELP WITH THE LATE SUMMER MONTHS
The summer months removes the moisture from our bodies. A general rule to follow is drink half your weight in ounces. If you weigh 160 pounds then it is best to drink 80 ounces of water. It is advantageous to add electrolytes to your water. I recommend LMNT electrolytes. Drinking coffee throughout the day is not hydrating. It has the qualities of heating (even if it is cold brew), astringent or drying, and has a mobile quality to it. Coffee will give you an ample dose of the air and fire elements. So you are increasing Vata and Pitta doshas. Try cooling teas such as peppermint, spearmint, rose, hibiscus teas. An Ayurvedic cooling tea, CCF tea, is coriander, cumin and fennel in boiling water. (Get the recipe here)
EAT COOLING FOODS
Mid and Late Summer Superfoods
Coconut and coconut oil
Olives and olive oil
Sweet ripe fruits
MOISTURIZE THE SKIN
Abhyanga in Ayurveda is a daily self massage. If you are a Pitta and in the summer months the best oils to massage the body with are coconut or sunflower oil before a shower. Massaging the skin with coconut oil after being in the sun will help cool the body down and hydrate the skin.
For every dosha, routines are valuable. Incorporate routine times for your meals, exercise, and sleep are important throughout all the seasons. Without routines, our mind, body and spirit can become imbalanced. Eat your main meal at lunch between 12 - 2. Exercise in the cooler parts of the day such as early mornings. Go to bed by 10 pm and awake 30 minutes before the sun. This will vary depending on where you live.
As we move from season to season it is imperative we stay balanced across each season or we will carry the imbalance into each season. If this keeps continuously happening throughout the seasons, the mind and body will become either dis-eased or diseased. So stay cool and balanced in the last days of summer.