Beat the Heat – Summer Food Cures

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we look at food as having properties (hot, cold, dry, damp etc) in addition to nutritional value. Foods grown in each season have properties that help balance the body during that time. For example, summer foods have the ability to clear heat and cool the body down. Those grown in late summer or fall are more ‘hearty’ and tend to be better for building heat for those cooler fall days and nights (think root vegetables compared to leafy fragrant greens and cucumbers).

Getting overheated in the hot humid summer months isn’t unusual, but by including some of the following foods and avoiding others, you can help beat the heat and cool off.

Typically signs of being over-heated include: fever, profuse sweating, vomiting, weakness, shortness of breath, wheezing, diarrhea, bloating, irritability, inflammation and headaches.

Foods that help to clear some of this summer heat are: watermelon, lemon, apple, pineapple, mung beans (in soup), summer squash, zucchini, alfalfa, spinach and cucumber. If you suffer from sun or heat stroke you can use the juice from radishes or watermelon to help. Watermelon rind (the white part) can also be used to soothe sunburns as well.

Avoid: hot, spicy, greasy or overly oily foods, also avoid over consumption of stimulants like coffee, alcohol or sugars.

Foods can be used like medicine to help nourish and heal, so in addition to tasting great, we also feel better

Cooling Summer Tea

Soothing on the stomach and liver systems, this tea is ideal for cooling summer heat. Drink hot or cooled.



(2 tea bags of each or about a teaspoon each of loose leaf)

Lemon juice

Pour boiling water over herbs and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove herbs and use lemon juice to taste. You may also add some agave syrup if you like a slightly sweeter tea. Serve cool with a slice of lemon or a fresh sprig of mint.

Barley Water

If you find you are retaining a lot of water and react strongly to the humid weather, try drinking barley water daily. It can help soothe your digestive system, clear excessive heat and balance water metabolism.

2 ounces organic barley

1 liter filtered water

lemon juice

pinch of salt

Gently dry roast the barley and then add the filtered water and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30-40 minutes (until the barley is soft). Strain and add some lemon juice to taste. You can dilute the mixture with water. Drink cool or at room temperature. This soothes the intestines and cools the blood


Filed under Complementary Medicine, Diet, food cures, Health, Herbal Medicine, Holistic Healthcare, Natural Medicine, Summer heat, TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wellness

2 responses to “Beat the Heat – Summer Food Cures

  1. Jewel

    Excellent informations Angela. I have been drinking raw smoothies first thing in the morning that were made of beets, baby kale, spinach & chaud, celery, carrots along with some fruit. Since it was a smoothie, is it still better to lightly cook these vegetables for better disgestion?

    • Hello – Sorry for long delay! yes you can lightly cook the vegetables for better digestion. I would also suggest switching up your smoothie in the colder months for a warmer breakfast. You could make a breakfast soup with some of the same veggies but it helps keep your digestion strong and your body warmer in the colder months. The biggest thing to notice if you need warmer foods is by paying attention to your digestion. If you’re getting bloating, loose stools or a heavy feeling after you eat, it’s a sign you need to warm up and cook your diet. I hope this helps!
      All the best

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