Season summer relates to element Fire. To element Fire also relate the color red and the organ Heart. The red color has a nurturing and tonifying effect on the Heart. Thus the season summer is the season with the appropriate food color to strengthen the Heart. Red foods like cherries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and many more grow in the summer to nourish and tonify the Heart (to learn about the Heart from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine visit the Physiology chapter). Selecting foods and herbs with red color during summer season is a good way to strengthen the Heart.
Certainly red foods are not the only foods that grow during summer. There are fruits and vegetables with abundant colors, which should all be assimilated in the summer diet. Creating a rainbow menu of vitamins, fibers and minerals is the best health attitude during the colorful summer season.
The summer foods should be cooked lightly with some spicy and pungent flavor to ensure that the cooling nature of fruits and vegetables is balanced out with warm/hot spices. Hot - flavored spices are used by many hot climate cultures. They increase the internal heat only to bring it out on the surface by inducing sweat (the body's cooling mechanism). Thus some fresh red and green hot peppers are a good addition to a summer meal as on one hand they help cool down the body and on the other - tonify the digestion. (1)
Heavy foods such as meats, eggs, milk and diary products should be reduced to minimum during the summer season. Raw and cooked fish is a wonderful source of protein, which satisfies the “meat hunger” yet is light on the digestion. Fish is also naturally rich on Omega 3 fatty acids, which cleanse the blood vessels and arteries from cholesterol. The blood vessels are governed by the Heart thus it is save to say that fish is also a good Heart food.
(1) Pitchford, Paul (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books
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