Dr. Nichole Nygren
Aug 1, 2023
With Cooling Foods & Acupuncture
We all long for summer, and by no means want it to end, but when the heat and humidity soar, most of us suddenly find ourselves wishing it was cooler again!
When you’ve been outside sweating on a super hot day, have you ever noticed that you naturally find yourself craving more cooling foods? Maybe you find yourself craving watermelon, reaching for iced tea, and even sense some aversion to heavy/greasy foods. This is an instinct to help reduce sensations of heat in the body as well as sweat. If you have noticed this then you are experiencing what Traditional Chinese Medicine calls “Summer Heat”.
As you may know, Chinese medicine is all about balance - so if there is excess Heat in the summer, our first goal is to balance the Heat with some coolness.
One thing we can start with is our diet. You may ask: “Can the foods I eat throughout the summer really reduce the amount of heat my body perceives, and the amount of sweat I produce?” The answer is YES!
The following foods are all high in water content and contain nutrients that can help to cool your body.
Watermelon: This fruit is about 92% water, which helps to keep you hydrated. It also contains citrulline, an amino acid that is converted to arginine in the body. Arginine helps to relax blood vessels, which can help to lower your body temperature. Watermelon also has a cooling effect on the skin. When you eat watermelon, the cool liquid helps to cool you from the inside out.
Cucumber: Cucumber is about 95% water, and it also contains some potassium, which can help regulate body temperature.
Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is about 90% water, and it is also a good source of vitamins A and C.
Honeydew melon: Honeydew melon is about 90% water, and it is also a good source of potassium.
Berries: Berries are a good source of water, and they also contain antioxidants that can help protect your body from damage.
Mint Tea: Your body senses cold when a protein called TRPM8 is activated in your nerve cells, which then relay a current signal to your brain that it interprets as a cold sensation. Menthol has the unique ability to activate TRPM8, tricking your nerves into thinking they're feeling cold when they're actually not.
The next thing you can do to help cool yourself is to stimulate your own acupuncture points. Stimulating Acu points are like removing lids on hot pots. In the same way that you take off the lid to reduce the heat of the contents, we can use acupoints to reduce the heat in our body & mind. Just massage the following points for 30-45 seconds each several times a day.
Cheers to cooling foods and acupoints!