According to ancient traditions like Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, it’s believed that foods can have a warming, drying, moistening or cooling effect on the body. And it’s important that these energetic properties be balanced through diet. If our bodies are too hot, or “overly yang” – we could experience perspiration, thirst, constipation, anxiety, headaches, a rapid pulse or heart burn. We can chill out, by eating raw and cooling = foods which will calm our blood, help eliminate toxins and ultimately “nourish yin”. To help combat the negative effects that scorching summer climes may have on our bodies, I suggest adding some of the following foods to your shopping list…
DARK LEAFY GREENS
These are composed of 80-95 per cent water, which makes them very easy to digest. As they move through the digestive system they impart a cooling sensation in the body. Some of my favourite greens are kale, cavolo nero and Swiss chard. They’re also packed with important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium as well as vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamins B1 and B2.
Nori, kombi, wakame, arame and sea palm are all great sea vegetables that are extremely “yin”. They’re high in calcium, iron, phosphorous and vitamins. Try using kelp flakes instead of table salt for seasoning, or use your favourite sea vegetable in a salad, cold soup or miso soup.
These really should be a staple ingredient in everyone’s diet. Young coconut meat is tender and delicious while fresh coconut water is very hydrating. Both offer a range of health benefits and cooling effects on the body. Here in the UAE, we are especially lucky to have them readily available.
This fruit is made up of more than 90 per cent water, which assists in keeping you well-hydrated in the heat. In addition, it contains vitamins A and C, is packed with lycopene, a potent antioxidant which may aid in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease and it’s low in calories.
According to Chinese medicine, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and cranberries are all alkaline, “yin” fruits that generate cold energy in the body. They’re great as quick summer snacks.
COCONUT YOGHURT WITH BERRIES
Prep time: 10 minutes (plus fermenting and refrigeration time)
Makes: 1 pot
2 young coconuts
1 cup coconut water
1 probiotic tablet
4-6 spinneysFOOD Medjool dates, pitted and mashed to a fine purée, optional
Fresh strawberries, for garnishing
Fresh berries, for garnishing
1 Cut the coconuts in half, scoop out the meat and place it in a blender with half of the coconut water. 2 Blitz until smooth, adding more coconut water as you go until the “yoghurt” reaches your desired texture. 3 Stir in the probiotic tablet and date purée. 4 Place the mixture in an airtight glass container and store it in a warm and dark place for about 8-10 hours to ferment. This process will allow the yoghurt to develop the probiotics. 5 Then, place the container in the fridge. Once chilled, top the yoghurt with berries and serve immediately. It goes well with granola or oats, too.