Cucumbers are a perfect Summer food, they are refrigerant, blood purifying, good for UTIs and excellent for the skin. Good for Vata & Pitta types but can increase Kapha.
A little about Ayurveda & Summer….. Summer is heralded by an energetic shift around mid-May, this lasts until mid July when it shifts again to the Rainy season. Luckily for us residing in Ireland we do not experience the extremes of any season. The summer does not bring searing heat & dryness and the Rainy season does not translate into monsoons. Nevertheless Summer in Ireland does follow the predetermined energetic pattern that Ayurveda suggests.Vata (Ether & Air) is the main Dosha that accumulates during the summer months but if the summer heat is excessive Pitta Dosha (Fire & Water) may become slightly aggravated. Kapha (Water & Earth) is the only Dosha that is alleviated during summer, hence why it’s easier to lose weight.The environment can be hot and dry which is reflected in some of the common summer health complaints, e.g. lethargy, sunburn, constipation, skin irritations, heat stroke, neuralgia’s, dehydration, dryness of mucous membranes, etc. To harmonize the body & offset external environmental factors there are a number of prescribed lifestyle & dietary recommendations.
- According to Ayurveda, this is the only time of year that laziness is actually prescribed! Siestas, gentle strolls and spending time soaking up natures splendour are all prescribed whilst strenuous work & arduous exercise should be avoided. Ancient texts suggest the cool environments of rivers, streams and ponds are ideal for Summer time.
- Ayurveda pays close attention to the 6 tastes in ones diet (Sweet, Sour, Satly, Pungent, Bitter & Astringent) as taste expresses the 5 elements manifesting in food. The external environment also has taste. During the summer months the Pungent taste (Air/Fire) is dominant and to balance this some bitter foods & sweet tastes are advisable as they cool & soothe the body. Avoid foods & drinks that promote dryness & heat such as heavy, pungent, salty or sour tasting food.
- Generally sweating is more frequent during the summer and as a result electrolytes and fluid are lost from the body. As a result further drying can take place if the body is not adequately hydrated. Extra water alone is not sufficient as the body requires taste to process fluid properly. The Ayurvedic system recommends that you add flavour to your water e.g. add a small amount of elderflower or rose cordial, a dash of pure juice, or a squeeze of lemon or lime. Hydration is also assisted by consuming ripe fruits (summer stone fruits, berries, etc) and cooling vegetables (leafy greens, salads, etc) as they are essentially full of water but have the added benefit of taste & vitamins.
- Many medicinal herbs can also be used to aid the cooling & soothing action sought such as elderflower, marshmallow, rose, aloe vera, nettle, sandalwood, jasmine, etc.