Now that warmer weather is on its way, you may find that your digestive fire decreases. To balance the increasing heat that affects us, as spring moves into summer, the body pushes our inner heat sources (mostly found in our digestive areas) out to the body’s surface. This heat then dissipates in the form of moisture and sweat. The consequence is that we cool down. Another consequence is that we have less inner fire to digest food. Here are some tips that can help support digestion as the weather warms up.
1. Eat less
Maharishi AyurVeda recommends eating smaller portions at each meal in warmer weather. By eating a little less than usual you may find that your body feels cooler and that you are more alert and energetic throughout the day. However, do not skip meals. It is also best to take your main meal at noon when the sun is strongest and digestion is at its peak.
2. Eat lighter
Favour cooling, semi-liquid, easy-to-digest foods. Salads, cool summery soups and ripe, sweet, juicy fruits are traditional in summer. Use a pitta-pacifying diet of foods with sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Melons and hydrating vegetables such as summer squashes, cucumber and courgettes are especially good.
Eat lighter proteins, such as milk, fresh paneer, mung dhal and other pulses. Nuts are best soaked overnight and ground. Try adding them to cereals, soups and sauces. Avoid salty, roasted nuts.
3. Drink more water
Increase your daily intake of pure water and other liquids. Fruit juices, especially freshly squeezed, cool the body and replenish electrolytes in the same stroke. Add Almond Energy* to milk or juice for extra energy. Drink lassi, consisting of one part yoghurt blended with three parts water and, if available, one tablespoon of rose petal jam.
4. Use digestive herbs and spices
Use pitta-pacifying spices which include fennel, coriander, fenugreek and cardamom and fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary, coriander and parsley. Fresh ginger, cumin, and black pepper should be taken in smaller amounts in summer. Make sure your diet has sufficient salt, which is lost through sweat.
5. Pump up digestion with herbal supplements
During a hot spell, toxins can build up in the liver leading to emotional irritability and sensitive skin that over-reacts to the sun, insect bites and heat. Detox Pitta MA1663* balances and strengthens the liver while gently removing toxins and is recommended for people with high pitta dosha. Detox MA1010* is best for those with less pitta.
Herbal Cleanse (MA 602)* which helps deal with constipation, is a highly effective formula that uses psyllium seed husk, cabbage rose and fennel to clear toxins from the colon and bowel without heating the body in the process.
6. Choose cooling exercise
Wake up early to exercise when the sun’s healing values are greatest and its heat is least, or take a cool evening walk in the moonlight. Avoid exercising in the afternoon sun. Swimming is a perfect summer sport. Exercise to within 50% of your capacity and avoid over-exertion.
7. Revitalise with Amla Berry
Amla Berry (MA 1)* is a rasayana – an Ayurvedic formulation revered for its ability to harmonise mind and body and to promote vitality and longevity. Amla Berry is an excellent digestion-booster, enhancing food absorption and assimilation by strengthening all thirteen digestive fires (agnis). In addition, it stimulates the liver and removes toxins and hyperacidity. It also has a rejuvenating effect on muscles, eyes, skin, brain, heart and lungs, and is a powerful antioxidant and excellent source of Vitamin C.
Available from Maharishi.co.uk
Sue Lincoln is a Maharishi AyurVeda Practitioner living at Maharishi Garden Village, Suffolk. To book a consultation call: 07980 335757