Spices are a staple in China and India to balance the human body during the extremes of the seasons.
In fact, according to the traditional style of Indian medicine (Ayurveda), it’s important to use cooling spices during the summer months.
The spices are used medicinally to help you avoid getting overheated.
Turn down the sizzle on “Fire Season”
Traditionally known as the “pitta,” or fire season, summer can lead to excess inflammation, acne, rash, sweating and even heat stroke. To combat the heat-caused inflammation and to keep the body cool and comfortable during the summer months, the 5,000 year-old food philosophy of Ayurveda recommends eating large amounts of cooling foods such as leafy bitter greens, cucumber, watermelon, coconut water, and cooling spice.
It’s quite a shame that most people have lost their connection to the natural flow of the seasons, particularly in regard to how we spice our foods.
Following are ten of my favorite summer spices, that can help you cool off. Just make sure you are buying the organic variety of each… or growing your own.
1. Cooling Mint:
Whether peppermint or spearmint, mint is more than just a bad breath remedy, it’s also an excellent cooling summer spice. Best when picked fresh from your herb garden, mint makes a heat-busting addition to a summer lemonade or fresh fruit salad. Growing peppermint in your backyard is also very easy to do.
2. Soothing Fennel Seed:
Fennel seeds are highly cooling. They also have the added benefit of stimulating intestinal juices, promoting proper digestion and reducing acid reflux. Try chewing a teaspoon of fennel seeds before and after your next main meal. They also keep the breath fresh and promote good oral hygiene.
3. Feisty Fresh Cilantro:
Fresh cilantro leaves have been used in Thailand and Mexico for thousands of years. A staple in home-made salsas, cilantro acts to counteract the often-spicy flavors and tastes of many international dishes.
Cilantro is extremely easy to grow at home. It grows in both gardens and pots, prefers direct sunlight, and produces leaves quickly and without much care.
4. Inflammation Dousing Turmeric:
One of the most healing spices on the planet, turmeric is cooling during the summer. It also has health-boosting properties for the human body. An anti-inflammatory, liver cleanser, anti-allergen, blood purifier, cholesterol balancer, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, this cooling summer spice should be considered a necessity to keep in the spice cabinet.
Turmeric is one of the best spices for avoiding toxic inflammation in the body, a condition that often peaks in summer time. It also stimulates the digestive process, boosts immunity and is great for cooling off over-heated summer skin.
5. Flavorful Fresh Basil:
Another easy-to-grow herb, fresh basil is extremely high in antioxidants. Try making a cooling summer pesto using fresh basil leaves, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, lemon juice and salt.
6. Calming Cardamom:
Another excellent digestive aid, this spice makes a great addition to a summer morning tea. Try heating some almond milk, adding a dash or two of cardamom and some rooibush tea for a cooling iced herbal tea for summer. Cardamom is also tasty when added to your morning smoothie, granola or yogurt.
7. Dashing Dill:
This cooling savory spice can be used both fresh and dried. Try adding some fresh dill to items on the menu during the summer months. Grilled veggies taste great with some cooling fresh dill and a dash of lime.
8. Comforting Cumin:
In small amounts, cumin seeds and ground powder are cooling. They also act as a powerful anti-carminiative and digestive aid. Cumin is a savory spice that can be used in grain dishes, vegetable stir-fry’s and soups.
9. Zesty Fresh Ginger:
While it may seem that this spice increases the heat, fresh ginger actually has a cooling post-digestive effect on the body. Fresh ginger tea is also one of the best spices for keeping our digestion regular. Try drinking some fresh ginger tea throughout the day (between meals). You may notice that your appetite is healthier, and your ability to successfully digest foods increases.
Do you have a favorite summer spice or summer recipe? Feel free to share any recipes you may have in the comments below.
Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!
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