Summer Season and Its Regimen in Ayurveda
Ayurveda, being the oldest Science of life has given emphasis on the diet, sleep and celibacy, and considered these three as the basic sub-pillars of life. The diet and lifestyle plays a keen role in maintaining one's health and even in the treatment of any diseased one. The Ayurvedic Litterateurs had mentioned the ideal lifestyle and dietary regimen for the different seasons in the year. In this article we are more concerned about the Summer season and its regimen according to Ayurveda that must/can be followed even by the peoples in European countries that will make their summers better and happy.
Palm trees, ocean, breeze, salty air and sunkissed hair, that endless summer, take me there. Summer is no doubt the season of happiness, the sun rays are intense and scorching, and the wind in the northern direction is unhealthy. The earth gets heated up, rivers become narrow, directions appear blazing, birds and animals roam, small trees, grass and climbers appear lifeless and trees shed their leaves.
Effects On The Body
(Reference- Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthana 6/27)
The intense rays of the sun dry unctuousness and moisture in the body and surrounding, which leads to the decrease of kapha and this dryness causes accumulation of vata.
Further, if the person consumes light and dry medicine, devoid of potency in this season, then it leads to an increase of lightness, dryness and spreading in the body, leading to the accumulation of vata dosha.
In European countries, most of the people start taking iced beverages and drinks such as iced coffee or iced tea. They used to take non-vegetarian articles in the food including various sea foods and the heavy meats (beef/red meats/ pork etc.) and are less focused on plant based diets. Moreover fast foods such as burgers, pizza, cold drinks & other alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages are common.
Diet In Ayurveda
The dietary regimen in Ayurveda is focused on the consumption of sweet, cold, unctuous and liquid food.
Avoid - One should avoid salt, sour, and pungent food.
Special Drinks That Are Indicated Beneficial In Summers
These drinks provide nourishment to the body tissues, help in rehydrating the body and have cool potency that helps in cooling the body down. Mantha- A cold preparation with sugar, terrestrial animals, birds, ghee, milk and rice should be consumed during the summer season.
- Raga khandava - A drink prepared from grapes, Gmelina arborea, Madhuca longifolia, Grewia asiatica, and sugar with the essence of Cinnamomum camphora. This drink must be kept in an earthen pot, covered with the leaves of a plant such as banana leaf or jackfruit leaves.
- One should drink cold water made fragrant with Stereospermum suaveolens, and Cinnamomum camphora.
- At night the cold milk with sugar candy should be consumed.
- One should drink mango juice.
- Churned curds medicated with pepper must be consumed.
Fruits Best For Summer
Many of summer's seasonal fruits are overflowing with multiple benefits, few of which includes:
Staying hydrated during hot summer months is very much necessary as it not only keeps your body cool by sweating, but also keeps the mood stable and keeps the memory sharp. But if you feel drinking water directly uncomfortable to meet your body's requirement, then watermelon is the best alternative available in the summers for you, it contains 92% water contents in it and also delivers the lycopene which is a skin protecting agent. Eat the fruit raw, or as a juice.
Avoid - Making shake by mixing it with milk.
Enriched with the goodness of taste, fiber, and instinct cooling effects, mangoes are the perfect fruit for the summers that also aids the good digestion and helps in preventing heat stroke and many stomach related disorders. This fruit can be eaten raw or can be consumed as freshly prepared mango juice.
Avoid - Canned/ packed mango juice or soft drinks, as they also contain artificial sweeteners and chemical based preservatives.
An excellent source of antioxidants that are helpful in relieving the various types of muscle fatigues, by scavenging the additional free radicals produced in the muscles during exertion or fatigue. These berries must be consumed fresh.
These are the rich fiber source, having some in the form of pectin, which aids in lowering the cholesterol values. The extent of fiber is just justified by the fact that just one cup of raspberries contains approx. 8 grams of fiber, and this healthy fiber may help in weight reduction and promote unhealthy weight gain. These also must be consumed fresh. And two cups of raspberries (16 grams fiber) is sufficient for a normal person per day (that consumes 2000 calories).
Both varieties of cherry (trat & sweet) must be enjoyed during the summer season. Sweet cherries are loaded with beta carotene, anthocyanin, quercetin and vitamin C, which might work synergistically together to fight life-threatening diseases such as in cancer. Also sweet cherries are the rich source of potassium which is a natural blood-pressure reducer. The anthocyanin present in the trat cherries helps in decreasing the fat storage and fasten up the fat burning process. The habit of drinking the tart cherry juice daily can help in reducing the post workout pain and in improving the quality of sleep. These cherries can be used raw or can be used as a juice or in the form of smoothie.
The corn not only fulfil the taste buds by its sweet taste during the summers but the richness of two antioxidants i.e. lutein and zeaxanthin present in the corn may help to form macular pigments that plays a beneficial role in filtering the sun's harmful rays, and also helps in lowering the risk of developing age related blindness (due to macular degeneration). Corns can be used as a soup or in cooked or boiled form.
Consuming more totamotes during the sunny days of the summer are very essential in giving protection to the blazing summer sun and its harmful radiations. As tomatoes are the source of a carotenoid named as lycopene that have the properties to protect the skin from sunburn. Tomatoes can be used as a paste (2-3 tablespoons/day) or can be used raw/steamed as salad.
Other than these, other fruits such as apricots, cantaloupe, kiwi, plums, swiss chard, peaches, grapes, strawberries, pomegranates, zucchini, figs, etc.
Seasonal Vegetables Iinclude - green beans, kohlrabi, okra, peppers, summer squash, butternut squash, sweet potato, spinach, pumpkins, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms etc. These vegetables can be consumed in the raw or boiled form as salad, can be taken as soup during mid-morning or evening, utilized as a herbal smoothie, or can be cooked in healthy oils.
Vegetables and fruits are a rich source of chlorophyll pigment that is very much essential in clearing the blockages in the blood vessels and thus reduce the chances of heart or brain strokes. Moreover, when such a plant based diet is used for a long time it will enhance the blood purification and help in cooling the body during summers with a rich source of fiber and other essential nutrients.
Non Vegetarian Diets
More frequent use of non-vegetarian articles must be avoided. Use of frozen flesh is prohibited.
Alcoholic preparations should be avoided, if one is very much addicted then a large quantity of water must be mixed with the drink before consumption.
Few Beneficial Lifestyle Modifications
- One should rest in the cold home in the afternoon and under the soothing rays of the moon at night. The logic behind taking rest during the afternoon time is to avoid unnecessary exposure of direct sun, (as sun is at supreme hotness during afternoon time), and also sleeping during day time help in restoring the kapha dosha that was reduced/dried up due to the direct sun exposures during summer season.
- It is indicated in the Ayurvedic texts that one must apply the Sandalwood paste to his forehead and body. Soothing effect of the sandalwood paste on the forehead helps in keeping the mind calm and prevents from the sunstroke. And its application of the body makes a protective cooling film around the skin that prevents the skin from the damage of harmful sun radiations.
- One must visit or stay near the forest (area surrounded by trees), near water reservoirs, and cold places beautified with flowers in the summer season.
- Avoid - Sex, and vigrous exercise.
These are the few dietary and lifestyle modifications mentioned in Ayurvedic texts that must be adopted in day to day life to make the summers more awesome. Keep the body hydrated and follow these instructions to maintain adequate health conditions during the summer season.