Staying Cool this Summer

Summer is with us. It is lovely to be able to enjoy the warmth of the sun. Moreover, the light from the longer days lifts our spirits and our body can make plenty of Vit D if we spend just 30 minutes enjoying the sun each day.
Yet, the heat of the summer can also be a negative source of stimulation. We are typically much more active because of our increased energy levels and all this action produces heat within our bodies (fine as long as we don’t overheat!). What’s more, the general race to get as much done before going away on holiday or travelling can easily result in hot tempers, irritation etc.
I was recently talking to a friend who complained of redness around her eyes and generally swollen eyes. In Ayurveda, the eyes are one of the main sites of Pitta, associated with the fire and water elements. Fire is experienced within the body as the force which breaks down food, thoughts and ideas – digestion, and also in our body temperature. For burning eyes, swelling or redness, and in general to stay cool in both body and mind it is important to follow appropriate lifestyle and dietary tips. So, as we move into summer,let me share with you 9 of my top lifestyle and nutritional tips to keep the internal fire steady and balanced so you stay cool in both body and mind while at home or travelling this summer.
Enjoy a diet that includes
1. cooling spices, for example, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, saffron, and plenty of fresh green herbs (my favourites include coriander and mint)
2. leafy greens such as kale, chard, at least once a day to introduce the bitter taste, the most cooling of the six tastes that we learn about in Ayurveda
3. light and cooling grains such as basmatic rice, quinoa and barley.
Keep cool and hydrated by
1. making sure you drink plenty of (non-sparkling) water (at room temperature or slightly warm) throughout the day to hydrate even more quickly. Add a squeeze of lime juice to liven it up
2. having at least one glass of water for each hour you are in the air on any flight to and from your holiday destination. I generally carry a small thermos flask with me on flights (remember to empty it BEFORE being screened!)
3. avoiding/limiting caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and alcohol especially when you fly. They have a dehydrating effect on your body cells, which means that it will take you longer to recover from jetlag.
In your day to day life
1. avoid the hot sun especially on an empty stomach or right after a meal, and don’t leave home on an empty stomach.
2. cool down during the day with a refreshing pure rosewater face/body spray when you’re feeling hot and by putting slices of cucumber on burning eyes at night.
3. wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when out in the sun

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