Sweat It Out This Summer

Summer is the season to naturally detoxify the body with minerals, oils and trapped toxins released through sweat onto the skin’s surface. It’s the season that encourages everything in nature to grow faster, the time for increased cellular regeneration and repair. Have you noticed how much faster your hair grows at this time of year?

During winter our body cells contract, while in the summer they expand. This expansion process is all about growth, regeneration, physical activity and creativity. The aim during this season is to cool down inside, even if outside we are hot.

The welcome relief of air-conditioning serves to cool us on the outside by contracting external skin cells, but in the process prevents sweating, keeping us hot on the inside. Icy cold drinks and ice cream may seem like a great idea, but when they arrive in the stomach, still icy cold, the stomach contracts, inhibiting the release of digestive enzymes and impeding thorough digestion. In ayurvedic medicine, poor digestion is the root of all disease. Drinking icy cold drinks on their own is bad enough, drinking them with a meal is a surefire way to indigestion.

As with all the seasons what we eat and how we prepare our food changes during summer and while it may surprise you, eating cold food all the time is not recommended. Summer heat and too many cold foods weakens the digestion therefore combining cold salads with lightly cooked, steamed, stir fried or poached foods is the best idea.

Hot spices including cayenne, chilli horseradish and black pepper are also good to stimulate the dispersion of internal heat to the body’s surface, but don’t overdo them or combine them with heavy foods like meat. In India it’s the spicy lentil dhal and vegetable curries that help to cool the body, not heavy meat curries.

Oils and minerals lost through sweating must also be replaced and it’s the perfect opportunity to replace them with the best of the best. Choose cold pressed extra virgin oils to make salad dressing and always make sure the oil is fresh. Oils are particulary susceptible to rancidity during the warmer months so it’s best to buy small bottles and replace them regularly. When preparing salad consider an abundance of variety and colour for a broad compliment of nutrients, and finally consider eating less more often.

Judy Davy