Using the Tastes to Stay Cool in Summer
In Ayurveda, one of the ways we can choose foods and herbs to stay in balance is by understanding the six tastes. The tastes are both literal, what you taste on your tongue, and energetic, meaning they have an effect on body and mind.
The Doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—have a direct relationship to the six tastes. To get an overview of the tastes and their relationship to the doshas, see the chart at the end of this article. For our purposes today, we are going to look at the tastes that decrease Pitta, or Fire, in the body and mind.
The tastes are: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent
Each taste has either a cooling effect, or a heating effect on the body and mind.
Generally Sweet, Bitter, and Astringent have a Cooling effect
And Sour, Salty, and Pungent have a Heating effect
To reduce Pitta, and Heat, in the summer, we want to focus on those tastes that have a cooling effect.
As we are entering into the dog days of summer, knowing what foods help to cool and refresh can be an enormous help!
Remember that no person, and no food, is just one kind of energy. What works for me may not work for you! Please experiment and get to know what your body needs. I’ve gathered a few fruits and vegetables to get you started, both from my own experience and from collective Ayurvedic wisdom.
Here are a few foods to eat more of to keep cool!
Sweet and Astringent Fruits:
Figs, Dark Grapes, Sweet Plums, Melons, Sweet Oranges, Coconut, Peaches, Most Berries (especially Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries), Apples, Bananas
Sweet and Astringent Vegetables:
Summer Squash, Leafy Greens (Kale and Arugula are slightly bitter), Lettuce (also bitter), Peas, Green Beans, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery
Cooling Herbs (great for iced tea!)
Rose Buds, Peach Leaf, Marshmallow Leaf, Hibiscus Flower, Blue Vervain, Spearmint, Lavender
And here are a few recipes to try!
3 ripe peaches
juice of ½ lime
½+ cup roughly chopped fresh spearmint leaves
pinch of Celtic grey sea salt
Mixed Berry Smoothie
1 cup whole milk yoghurt
1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
¼ cup Sunflower seed butter
1 tsp cinnamon pwd
Milk to thin as needed
Blue Juice Spritzer
2 parts pure Blueberry Juice
1 part pure Concord Grape Juice
2-3 parts Sparkling Water
splash of lime juice
If you’d like to know more about Ayurveda and the tastes, check out the chart below, and let us know in the comments if you’d like me to write more on the subject!