Healthy summer eating tipsHealthy summer eating tips

Healthy Summer Foods

 June 11, 2021

By  Juli Kramer

Healthy eating tips in the summer help you use your  body constitution as a guide to know which foods are best for you to eat.

Reading time: 8 minutes

Overall, Chinese medicine understands that everyone needs to eat according to the season to be healthy. According to Su Wen, “Summer is hot when yang qi of the sky and earth meet. All living creatures have an exuberant metabolism and prosper with exuberant foliage. Yang and blood circulate freely at the surface of the human body, while yin (body fluid), depleted, withdraws and retires inside. It is a season for an outdoor type of person. Ensure a smooth movement of qi, or your heart gets hurt.”

The main healthcare goal for summer is to protect and open energy channels in your body. When they are open, yang energy and qi can flow smoothly.

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Healthy eating tips for a balanced constitution in the Summer

Firstly, if you have a balanced constitution, your goal is to eat more pungent-tasting food to energize your stomach. Eating this type of food helps you get rid of dampness and cold left over from winter and spring. For example, ginger is a great choice, just make sure to eat ginger before dinner.

A bowl of tofu stewed with scallions and ginger makes it easy to eat ginger, for instance. It will tonify your qi, as well as cool and detoxify your blood.

Secondly, remember that hot temperatures can reduce your appetite. Therefore, you had better eat more sour and salty-tasting foods such as: lemons, plum sauce, pineapple, tomatoes, seafood, and vinegar.

Other helpful foods for you include: watermelon, cucumber (best when eaten with black fungus), wild cabbage, corn, mung bean congee with honey, French beans, spinach (don’t eat with dairy), tomatoes (best with an egg or potatoes and a bit of vinegar to counteract the tomato’s alkalinity), and tofu skin (best with straw mushrooms).

These foods help keep your body balanced, especially when the temperatures soar.

A third healthy summer eating tip for you is to not eat cold or strongly flavored foods which harm yang energy and can throw you out of balance. For example, never drink water or other beverages iced. Make sure that everything you drink is at least at room temperature to avoid irritating your stomach lining.

healthy eating tips

Hot body constitution

Hot constitution healthy summer eating

Summer proves especially challenging for people with a hot constitution. You sweat more and therefore lose even more fluids than others. However, if you eat right, you will feel less tired and irritated.

To start, eat plant and ocean-based proteins. For instance, fish, strawberries, nuts, soybean products (ideally consumed with shiitake mushrooms if you want to lower your blood pressure), and watermelon.

An additional healthy summer eating tip for you is that green tea will help invigorate and cool your body. Do not drink after having alcohol, or you may harm your kidneys.

Furthermore, you need to avoid foods and spices hot in nature. Some examples include: basil, black and white pepper, cayenne pepper, chicken, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, lamb, onions, shrimp, and trout.

Other foods that will increase you heat and restrict your flow of qi and blood are fried, fatty foods. Too many fatty foods will increase skin problems for you, such as acne and rashes.

However, your body needs healthy fats, and black sesame seeds are a good option for you during the summer.


Yin deficiency constitution

Extreme summer heat tends to drain your energy, which is already low. If you have a yin deficiency constitution, make sure to stick to your low-fat, low-sugar eating plan. Likewise, avoid the following foods: chili or Sichuan peppers, ginger, garlic, lamb, litchi fruit, longan fruit, scallions, shrimp, and walnuts. In fact, any highly seasoned or spicy foods will further drain your energy.

Some symptoms that indicate you should carefully avoid spicy foods include yellow urine, insomnia or light sleep, and constipation.

Healthy summer eating tips for you include avoiding eggplant. Eggplant can worsen emotional symptoms. You already worked hard to stay emotionally balanced. Avoiding eggplant will help.

What’s more, you should eat watermelon in small quantities. Never consume too much or you may harm your spleen.

Yang deficiency

If you have a Yang deficiency or cold constitution, you need to eat warming foods.

Healthy eating tips for yang deficiency and cold constitution

As someone with a yang deficiency constitution or cold constitution, is your chance to increase your warmth and yang energy. You need summer heat! By eating right in the summer, you will prevent many fall and winter health problems.

There is just one small challenge. Avoiding all the cold summer treats that will worsen your condition. Iced lemonade, ice cream, and raw fruit are all around you. These foods will not only harm your digestion when you eat them, they will set you up to struggle with cold extremities and illness when the weather turns cold again.

These foods might temporarily help you feel cooler, but their effect harms your yang energy. A sure sign that you should not eat these foods is diarrhea. If you do get diarrhea, the following remedy can help. Bring 3 cups of water, four slices of ginger and ½ tablespoon of brown sugar to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. While it simmers, beat an egg until it is frothy. Add the egg to the broth. Drink hot, twice a day ½ before you eat, or one hour after you eat.

Continue for one week, or until symptoms subside. Then you can drink the broth once a day until you have no more symptoms of diarrhea.

Even at the height of the summer, a healthy summer eating tip for you is that hot soup is better for you than a cold salad. Your body needs to conserve yang energy. As an illustration, chicken and lamb soups will tonify your yang energy.


Phelgm-damp constitution

Summer is a great time to overcome the cold, yin energy of a phlegm-damp constitution. You can fill up with heat and yang energy. Eating the right foods is a perfect way to add yang energy.

Here are some general healthy summer eating tips for you. Eat more ginger, before 5:00 PM (or it may disrupt your sleep). To get the most out of the ginger wash and peel about 1-2 inches of ginger. Cut into slices and brew with brown sugar and jujubes (Chinese dates) for 10 minutes. Drink hot.

Eat some bitter-tasting foods to detoxify your blood and get qi moving. If you have a phlegm-damp constitution, this healthy summer eating tip will help you cleanse your body and clear phlegm and unnecessary fats in the bloodstream. For instance, you should lightly sauté and eat asparagus, bitter melon, celery, lettuce, lotus seeds and radish.

Especially important for you – do not eat watermelon. It is too cold in nature for you. You need more yang (warming energy), not less. Eating cold foods like watermelon, ice cream, and iced drinks may appeal to you, but you will harm your body even more.

For instance, you risk losing both your health and beauty. People with phlegm-damp constitution often try fruit or fruit juice diets because your tendency is to be overweight.

Case studies show that people with phlegm-damp constitutions often gain weight on these diets. Why? Over consumption of cold natured foods slows down your metabolism and adds to your phlegm dampness. By eating the right foods during each season, you will lose weight with greater ease.


Healthy eating tips for qi deficiency constitution in Summer

Much like yang deficiency, people with a qi deficiency constitution often feel weak. Summer heat can worsen your symptoms. The best food for you is hot porridge or congee. Your body easily digests porridge, and therefore absorbs more nutrient. More nutrients mean more energy!

Furthermore, you can improve your qi by drinking American ginseng tea and eating lychee fruit (not suitable if you are pregnant). As your qi strengthens, you may need to eat a snack. To continue to build your qi, your snack should have poultry or game meats.

Some people with qi deficiency have a hard time sleeping in the summer. You might experience dream disturbed sleep or have a hard time staying asleep all night. In that case, avoid drinking green tea and eat a few lychees each day. These recommendations have helped other people with qi deficiency and might help you.

Additionally, because you have qi deficiency, another healthy summer eating tip is to make sure to eat nourishing and qi building foods. Chinese yams, jujubes (Chinese dates), and gingko help you build up your energy.

Another nourishing dish for you is poaching an egg over medium heat until the white of the egg is set. Add 100 g glutinous rice balls of (about 5-6 small balls) to the water. Add ½ teaspoon of brown sugar and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Serve with 1 ½ oz. of rice wine.

healthy eating tips

Glutinous rice balls

Blood stasis body constitution

For people with a blood stasis body constitution, healthy summer eating tip is to eat food that clean and clear your blood stream.

First, you need to balance your foods between cooling and invigorating. Some examples include black fungus, raw lotus root, and Asian eggplant (narrower than the western counterpart), bamboo shoots, soybean sprouts, loofa (sponge gourd, also sometimes sold as large okra in Asian markets; best to eat before August). Sauteed soybean sprouts and green peppers is a great dish for you.

Second, do not eat sugary food or desserts! Sweets will disrupt your blood sugar levels and weaken your digestion. A strong digestion is essential to create and move blood. This caution includes sweet summer fruits. You may eat them in moderation, but don’t overdo it.

roasted vegetables

Eating the right foods in the summer keeps you healthy all year.

Healthy summer eating tips to keep you healthy all year

Eating foods that support your body constitution during the summer will help you stay healthy all year. Summer is the time to clear toxins and increase your energy. If you don’t eat right, you will weaken your immunity.

Once fall and winter come around, you won’t have the energy you need to fall allergies or winter ailments. The reverse is true. Nourishing your body with the right foods eliminates excess from the winter. It also helps you feel great for seasons to come.

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Juli Kramer


Juli Kramer is a certified qigong instructor. She also holds a diploma in Chinese Medicine Nutritional Therapy and multiple certificates in Chinese medicine. As a qigong and meditation teacher, Dr. Kramer understands the important role movement and meditation have on developing a healthy body and mind. Juli also has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Counseling Psychology.

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