Summer is the season of the Fire element in Chinese Medicine. This time of year, guided by Fire, calls forth abundance, growth, and expansion. Fire governs peak maturation and thus summer can be seen as the time that we reap the rewards for our efforts. Think of the summer harvest, when farmers gather all of the crops that they have cultivated throughout the spring.
Many of us look forward to the summer, as the days are warmer and longer and everything around us and within us seems more active. This is because the summer is when yang (active) energy and our qi (life force) are at their peak.
Right now, it might feel like everyone is coming out of their shells and is more willing to engage. And that is doubly true this summer, after the past year and a half we’ve all experienced!
It is important to flow with this energy and allow your social and dynamic side to shine. At the same time, remember to protect that energy. When Fire energy is balanced, you are likely to experience strong feelings of joy, love, and connection. When it is out of balance, you could experience impatience, depression, or, on the flip side, mania.
One of the key tenets of Chinese Medicine is living in harmony with the seasons and one of the best ways to do this is by being mindful of what we put into our bodies. Luckily, Mother Nature knows best, and always provides what we need, when we need it.
Fruits and vegetables abound during the summer and it would be wise to take advantage. As the temperature heats up, it is important to eat foods that keep you cool and hydrated.
Fire energy is connected to the heart, pericardium (the membrane enclosing the heart), the small intestine, and what is referred to as the San Jiao systems. The systems correspond to the organs in the thorax, above the diaphragm, which are concerned with breathing, the organs in the region above the stomach, which are concerned with digestion, and the organs lower down in the abdomen, those belonging to the urogenital, or gynecological, system (reproductive and the urinary organs).
It is best to avoid heavy, greasy, and fried foods during the summer, as they can wreak havoc on these systems.
Here are some specific recommendations for foods to add to your diet to balance the Fire energy within you. It is especially beneficial to eat these during the warmer months!
- Black beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Crab apples
- Dark, leafy greens
- Green beans
- Kidney beans
- Marrow soup
- Mung beans
- Olive oil
- Red beets
- Red lentils
Plus, you would benefit from avoiding the following…
- Canned soup
- Canned veggies
- Fried foods
- Hot dogs
- High-fat snacks
- Ice cream
- Potato chips
- Salt (excessive)
- Sugar (excessive)
- Red meat
- Saturated fat
- Whole milk
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Embrace the Fire energy this season and enjoy the renewed sense of vitality it brings you! And remember: eat right, stay hydrated, and wear sunscreen!
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