Summer is classified in Ayurveda as Pitta season, with the main elements of fire and water at play. The heat, the long days with bright sun, and the sharp intensity define the Pitta season. Pitta is understood as the digestive fire or metabolism, as it is hot and demands high amounts of energy. It demands the energy-producing properties of vegetables, fruits, and other carbs.
Carbohydrates are a fast, efficient source of fuel, and the body demands fruits and vegetables to meet these needs. In a seasonal cycle, the majority of your diet should come from these carbs. Raw vegetables such as cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes are wonderful to incorporate into your summer diet since they are free of fats and contain cooling properties.
Summertime is best to favor sweet foods to combat the internal fire, so it is best to eat fruits such as berries and cherries. A high-carb, high-sugar diet is naturally available in summertime. Your diet should include 70% of carbs and 30% protein and fat. This is to counterbalance the possibility of low blood sugar and fatigue after coming out of the Kapha season.
In general, here are 5 ways to get your gut ready for summer:
Eat more foods that are cooling in nature (such as mint, coconut, cucumber and fruit).
Favor foods that are sweet, bitter, and astringent. Salads, steamed vegetables, berries and coconut oil are great.
Eat less foods that create heat such as spicy, sour, or salty foods. Coffee, salsa, chips, and other spicy foods should be reduced.
Eat local and seasonally available produce.
Make sure to stay hydrated! Room temperature water with cucumber or coconut water can help you keep cool.
You might be asking, what are sweet, bitter and astringent foods? Here are some foods that we recommend that fall into those categories. Check your local farmers market for local these!
Vegetables: Broccoli, artichokes, cauliflower, cucumbers, beet greens, okra, asparagus, celery, cilantro, fennel, zucchini, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
Fruit: Mangoes, melons, peaches, berries, grapes, guavas, persimmons, plums, apples, apricots, blueberries, cherries, pears and all melons.
Grains: Barley, oat, rice, rye, and wheat.
Legumes: Garbanzo, fava, mungs, split pea, bean sprouts, lentils, and tofu.
Nuts and seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, coconut, and flax.
Dairy: Ghee, milk, and rice/soy milk.
Meat: Meat should be reduced in summer and eaten in moderation. Chicken, freshwater fish, and turkey are lighter for the season.
Oils: Coconut oil, olive, avocado, and soy.
Herbs: Aloe, cumin, coriander, asafoetida, peppermint, fennel, anise, and saffron.
Tea: Hibiscus, mint, dandelion, chamomile, and chicory.
As with every season in regards to Ayurveda, Each dosha must adjust their diet accordingly. These tips generally favor all of the doshas, however it is still important to re-evaluate where your imbalances are going into this busy, hot, and ambitious season! Check out our dosha quiz or give us a call to see where your imbalances are and where you can make some adjustments.