Eat to Beat the Heat

A hot summer can dry us out, creating sensations of thirst, overheating, headache and inflammation. While drinking plenty of water is key, there are certain foods that can help to cool and moisten our systems and help us maintain balance in the summer heat and throughout the year too. Many of these hydrating foods are, happily, in season and can be sourced locally for the freshest, crunchiest, and tastiest experience.

There’s some truth behind the saying ‘As cool as a cucumber’. The cooling nature of this vegetable nourishes fluids and helps reduce inflammation from heat. In addition to snacking on a luscious local cuke, juice from this cool veggie can be applied topically to help give relief from sunburns.

Broccoli can support summer heat conditions, such as thirst and intolerance to heat. With abundant pantothenic acid and Vitamin A, broccoli can also nourish rough skin.

From the nightshade family, eggplant and tomatoes are cooling and moistening, but also slightly toxic due to the alkaloid solanine. For this reason, children often intuitively avoid these foods.

Tomatoes help beat the summer heat. Photo Credit: Shannon Courtney/Salty

However, both eggplant and tomato support the liver and blood stagnancy, which can be impacted by a meat-heavy diet. These vegetables, therefore, are a perfect addition to a summer of beer and barbecues.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, I suggest eggplant sautéed in ground beef right after birth to help the body move out any retained placenta and nourish blood loss.

Spinach moistens dryness and can act as a laxative for those who feel the summer heat this way. It also quenches thirst and may reduce redness of the skin.

The Schurman Family Farm (also known as Atlantic Grown Organics) in Kensington offers many of these foods grown organically in their greenhouse, and can be found at the Charlottetown and Summerside farmers’ markets as well as retail stores across PEI. If you are lucky and your timing is good, you can also snap up an organic eggplant grown outdoors from Weedy Gardens at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market. But, like an Island summer, you had better seize the moment and savour, because it slips by fast.

About Harmony Wagner

Harmony Wagner began training with the North American Tang Shou Tao Association and her teacher Vince Black in 1996. She underwent a formal apprenticeship with the Four Winds Health Center and was licensed as a Registered Acupuncturist through the CTCMA of British Columbia in 2001. She practices Traditional Chinese Medicine and teaches NATSTA gongfu and qigong in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

View All Posts