The concept of Summer Heat is well known here in the Midwest, especially when it includes humidity. Those long, hot, humid summer days- often after a few days of rain and slightly cooler temps- leave one feeling sweaty, tired, thirsty and out of sorts.
In Chinese Medicine, “Summer Heat” is actually a defined condition including the above symptoms, but also includes feelings of a fever, very profuse sweating, possible wheezing or shortness of breath. It is caused by overexposure to extreme heat which is said to slow fluids and circulation in the body.
In modern times we have climate controlled buildings that help us avoid this overexposure, but at times it is possible to occur. After all, this is the time of the year where we want to spend a day at a festival, ball game, working in our gardens and yards, competing in a race (or a run/walk for charity). We get “cooped-up” by the cold winters and in the summer want to enjoy the outside as much as possible while the warm weather lasts. It’s easy to overdo it a bit.
The proper diet to deal with this weather is one including light, hydrating fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, muskmelon, lemon and apple. Summer veggies like zucchini, summer squash, cucumber and radish are good as well. This is one of the few times where raw foods are recommended. Cutting out heavy, fried foods, less meat, nuts and grains is also recommended.
This melon salad with honey/lime dressing is an excellent addition to the diet on a really hot day:
2 cups cubed watermelon
2 cups cubed cantaloupe
2 cups cubed honeydew
2 cups cubed (fresh) pineapple
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 Tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon grated lime zest
Mint to garnish: cut into long, thin strips
Place fruit in a large bowl. Mix all dressing ingredients well. Just before serving, pour over fruit and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with fresh mint leaves and serve.