Summer is a yang season, a time for expansion. Warm weather and long days promote energy and activity. Summer is also a time of abundant foods and a perfect time to get as much variety into the diet as possible. In following traditional Chinese medicine principles, focus on the flavors of summer ~ Bitter and Sweet ~ to help you better align to the season. Here are four quick tips on making the most of summer, with a focus on flavor.
1. Bitter. Bitter foods help to clear heat, dry dampness, stimulate appetite, and ease inflammation. Foods with bitter flavor include kale, arugula (shown above), dandelion greens, and endive. If you want to take it up a notch, try some bitter melon.
2. Sweet. Balance out the bitter with the sweet. Sweet foods provide energy, nourish the body, and strengthen the spleen. Think sweet, per TCM, and you have beets (shown above), sweet potatoes, seasonal fruits and berries.
3. Lightly pungent spices. Lightly pungent spices, such as oregano, turmeric, rosemary, fennel, and dill can be mixed in to provide flavor and balance.
4. Heat. And don't forget a little heat to cool down. Spicy peppers such as jalapeno and habanero can be used to help disperse the heat off the body.
Enjoy the season!