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Foods that are bitter and nourish the heart are called for during the summer season, as bitterness has a tendency to cool heat and is often draining. The heart, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and the spleen are both organs that control their own respective channels of energy in the body. The heart belongs to the element of Fire. The spleen and stomach belong to the element of Earth. Both Fire and Earth elements have an important role during the summer season.
The Best Summer Foods Are Cooling Foods
Foods that support both the Fire and Earth elements are not only cooling. Oftentimes, they are also detoxifying, can improve digestion, and support weight loss by nourishing the Five Elements. In Chinese medicine, the Five Elements were created by observing nature, and each element corresponds to different organs in the body. "The theory of Five Elements rests on the notion that all phenomena in the universe are the products of the movement and mutation of five qualities: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water," explains the Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine.1
Mung bean broth is known to cool inflammation in the body and especially in the skin. CocoBiotic and all other Body Ecology fermented beverages are made with mung beans to offer this therapeutic cooling benefit!
The Body Ecology Diet is a system of eating that cools the inflammatory response in the body. It does this by healing the lining of the gut with an emphasis on fermented foods and beverages. Body Ecology also promotes healthy food combining techniques and urges us to watch our bodies carefully for any immune response flare-up after eating, especially after consuming grains.
Inflammation can rapidly age the body.
In TCM, detoxifying and cooling foods, when eaten in proper amounts and combined well with other foods, have the added bonus of helping to reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is a significant risk factor for a number of diseases, including arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. Research supports TCM practices to relieve inflammation, with the potential to prevent and treat chronic inflammatory disease.2
4 Cooling Foods for Your Healthiest Summer Yet
Here are the top four foods for this summer season that nourish the Fire and Earth elements, cool inflammation, and detoxify the body!3
1. Mung Bean Broth: The therapeutic value of mung beans is not in the bean itself, but in the water that you boil the bean in. In TCM, this liquid is so cooling and detoxifying that it has been reported useful in treating drug and alcohol poisoning. Most commonly, mung bean water is used to cool inflammation, especially acne and other red eruptions on the skin.
All of Body Ecology's fermented beverages are made with mung beans! This means that CocoBiotic, Dong Quai, and InnergyBiotic all offer the powerful and therapeutically cooling properties of mung beans with the added bonus of being fermented.
2. Cucumber: Many of us are familiar with the cooling properties of cucumber. Bite into one, and you will instantly know why! Cucumber is commonly found in face tonics and used during facial treatments.
According to TCM, this is another food that helps relieve acne due to its cooling nature. Chinese medicine also uses cucumber to cleanse the blood and clear internal heat from the body. Remember, internal heat often equals inflammation. Cucumber is thirst quenching and, therefore, is sometimes used to treat a sore throat. It is also detoxifying and promotes urination. Its draining nature means that it supports the spleen by pulling dampness out of the body.
If you have ever tried squeezing lemon on cucumber and liked the combination, try mixing slices of cucumber with your cultured veggies. The tartness of fermented vegetables parallels that of a lemon. Delicious!
3. Purslane: Purslane is a rare and special plant. Well, rare in its qualities. It is actually so common that the FDA considers purslane a beneficial weed. What is unique about purslane is its omega-3 EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) content. This is extraordinary for a land vegetable, as most omega-3 EPAs come from oily fish and microalgae.
Like the other top summer foods, in TCM purslane is excellent at cooling inflammation in the body. It is a potent detoxifier and reduces internal heat. It has been reported as effective in treating conditions like dysentery and enteritis, which is inflammation of the small intestine. In TCM, the small intestine is related to the heart and falls under the element of Fire. Chinese medicine considers purslane to be effective in treating infections relating to the gums, lungs, bowels, and urinary tract.
An excess of omega-6 fatty acids (most commonly found in vegetable oils) and a deficiency of omega-3s in the diet are associated with inflammation. Another excellent source of omega-3 fats is microalgae, in particular Spirulina. In addition to providing all of the eight essential amino acids, Body Ecology's Super Spirulina Plus is 50 percent fermented Spirulina! The fact that it is fermented means that it is easier to digest and gives a boost in beneficial microflora.
You can make an omega-3 powerhouse salad by adding purslane to your favorite greens. Arugula's bitter nature makes it a particularly fitting choice for the summer, as the taste of the Fire element is bitter. Next, add 1–3 teaspoons of Super Spirulina Plus to your basic oil and lemon vinaigrette. Sprinkle with a pinch of Celtic sea salt. The result: a rich, green salad dressing and a complete meal full of omega-3 fatty acids!
4. Aloe Vera: If you have ever sliced an aloe leaf open and smoothed it over a sunburn, you know about its cooling nature. In TCM, aloe vera reduces internal heat and can strongly promote a bowel movement. For this reason, when used discriminately, it can effectively treat constipation.
Looking for new ways to enjoy coconut water kefir? Try blending 4-6 ounces of coconut water kefir with ½ cup ice and ½ an aloe vera leaf (cut out from skin). Add 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a squirt of Body Ecology Liquid Stevia Concentrate, and ½ a pinch of Celtic sea salt.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
According to traditional Chinese medicine, foods that are bitter and nourishing to the heart are most beneficial in the summer season. This bitterness will cool down internal heat and naturally flush the body. When you eat foods that support the Fire and Earth elements, they will cool and detoxify your body, improve digestion, and even offer weight loss benefits!
Body Ecology's Top 4 Summer Foods
- Mung Bean Broth: Mung bean broth is cooling, detoxifying, and anti-inflammatory, especially beneficial for a skin condition like acne. Body Ecology fermented beverages CocoBiotic, Dong Quai, and InnergyBiotic are all made with mung beans.
- Cucumber: If you want to be as cool as a cucumber, add slices of cucumber to your cultured veggies to cleanse the blood and cool internal inflammation.
- Purslane: Purslane detoxifies and cools inflammation. It can even treat conditions like dysentery and enteritis, caused by inflammation in the small intestine. This plant is also an excellent source of omega-3 EPAs. Body Ecology's Super Spirulina Plus contains all eight essential amino acids and can be drizzled over purslane in a nutritious oil and vinegar salad dressing.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe vera can cool a sunburn and reduce internal heat. When used in moderation, it can also relieve constipation. Enjoy aloe vera with coconut water kefir, fresh squeezed lemon juice, Stevia, and Celtic sea salt to stay cool in the summer heat.
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- "Theory of Five Elements - Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada." Theory of Five Elements.
- J Tradit Complement Med. 2011 Oct-Dec; 1(1): 8–24.
- Lu, Henry. Chinese Natural Cures. Black Dog & Leventhal: New York. 2005.
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