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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Foods Can Help Us Keep Our Cool: Adding these fruits and vegetables can help us beat the heat, says Dr. Ankit Chander

Jun 30, 2014 10:42AM ● By Dr. Ankit Chander

Both traditional Indian and Chinese healing systems have long put forth that different foods can have cooling or heating properties. By adding or changing a few foods in our diet, we can improve how we feel during the hot months of the year.

One of the simplest additions to our diet is to add fresh lemon or lime juice to the water we drink. This is an easy solution, because drinking more fluids during the heat is also beneficial for our health. Other fruits that are cooling include apples, melons and grapes, as well as different kinds of berries.

Cooling vegetables include asparagus, squash, cucumber, avocado and leafy, green vegetables. Consider making large salads with combinations of these ingredients. For dressings, use those with cooling spices such as dill, fennel, mint, coriander or cilantro.

Smoothies are a great way to obtain many nutrients in a convenient form. To make smoothies, combine protein, greens and fruits, including lemon juice, with a base such as coconut milk. Coconut has been found to have a number of medicinal qualities, and is cooling in either milk or coconut meat forms. To add a natural, cooling sweetener, use pitted dates. For protein, use chickpeas, butter or clarified butter (ghee), milk, egg whites and poultry. Try cooking them in coconut or olive oils. Cooling grains include oats and barley, as well as white rice.

This is what a day of cooling foods could look like: oatmeal, egg whites and green smoothie for breakfast; a large chopped salad with chickpeas for lunch; vegetable or chicken fajitas with avocado or guacamole for dinner; and water with lemon for sipping throughout the day. Some other foods to consider include psyllium, a gentle fiber supplement, and chamomile tea before sleeping. Aloe juice is also considered cooling.

These are a few simple additions or substitutions we can make to our diet to gain a health benefit and obtain cooling for our body during the hot months. The key is to experiment and find what works best, because everyone’s body is different. One of the most important steps to beat the heat is to stay well hydrated—when we lose water, it affects not only our temperature regulation, but our energy levels, as well.

Dr. Ankit Chander is a staff physician at Naturopathic Specialists, 7331 E. Osborn Dr., Ste. 330, in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-990-1111 or visit ListenAndCare.com.

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