Food Choices in the Kitchen
Onion – blood thinning and clearing.
Ginger – heat regulatory, anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol.
Garlic – Cardiovascular, cholesterol reduction.
Cinnamon (true cinnamon, not cassia) – may lower cholesterol, lowers inflammation, balances blood sugar (worse in hot weather)
Beetroot – High in nitrates (dilates blood vessels) helps blood pressure, stamina, protects artery walls.
Heat will ‘push’ the heart and so hawthorn berries can help regulate this. Hawthorn helps increase blood flow to the heart and is an official ‘drug’ in France, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, China and Russia. Lack of blood flow to the heart muscle itself can be fatal and so the leaves, flowers and berries can counteract this. It will ‘steady’ the heartbeat and make you feel calmer.
Caution- DO NOT combine Hawthorn with heart medications.
Hot or Cold Drinks
Hot drinks in the summer will make us sweat and importantly help us to lose heat when it evaporates, according to a Loughborough University study. But there’s no doubt about it that a long cold drink instantly cools us and if you use the right herbs you can let the herb ‘diaphoretic’ qualities (make us sweat) work while sipping something cooling.
Naturally cooling, fragrant and tasty herbal teas
Herbal teas will be your cooling allies. Try cooling mint (see below for why it cools!), green tea, lemon verbena, lavender and hibiscus. Sage (Salvia officinalis) is also a good choice; drunk hot it induces sweating and drunk cold it eases and reduces sweating so you can choose when and which version you prefer. It’s a favourite with menopausal women whose hot flushes further increase the hot and sweaty burden in heating weather. You can also try Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), which is often called “the master of fever” and is thus used for sweaty colds and flu times. But used for summer heat it regulates fluids in the body, cooling (or heating) as needed by moving blood towards or away from the skin surface. Clever eh? Yarrow can be a great double choice as it helps digestion and is also anti-inflammatory. [Achillea millefolium, such a wonderful Latin name ‘the foliage of a million leaflets!’] It’s a wildflower you may well have on your lawn or be able to pick (away from environmental toxins) in the wild.
Ginger is also a great choice in any drink form or food and you can make your own in a Nutri-bullet or blender. Ginger is ‘thermo-regulatory’, warming us in the cold and cooling us in the heat.
This is a ‘diaphoretic’ which means it allows fluid to move more easily around the body, opening up pores and clearing everything out. It flowered in May and June so if you missed making your own teas and drinks go and buy some dried flowers for teas or some pre-made cordials (sweetened without sugars and sweeteners) and dilute with plenty of water. I talked about this in relation to excess heat in my July newsletter so this is a reminder to seek it out.
Mint Tea, But why is it so Cooling?
It is naturally soothing and will alleviate inflammation and temperature rises. Be it tea or toothpaste we associate mint with tasting cool or cold. This is because the receptors in our mouth respond to menthol, eucalyptol and icilin. They act like a key to unlock a door allowing ‘a perception of cold’. Mint also increases sweating and urine flow and will thus cool down our internal organs. So it’s a good choice for physically cooling us down, but also mentally. [Mint juice will cool down burns if applied topically so could be useful for sunburns (internally it also helps heartburn)].