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Summer heat and cool foods | Dr (Mrs.) Nadeeka S. Perera | Dunedin

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Ayurveda is the science of how to lead a healthy life; it believes food and diet play the main role in the health of life.  There are six seasons in India, according to Ayurveda. They are “Vasant Ritu”/ Spring, “Grishma Ritu”/Summer, “Varsha Ritu”/Rainy-Monsoon, “Sharad Ritu”/Autumn, “Hemant Ritu”/ Late Autumn-Pre Winter, and Sheeta/ Winter. Different diet and lifestyle routines are described for each season in Ayurveda. Seasonal eating is always as good as eating well.

According to Ayurveda, Summer is the season of “pitta”. Therefore, we need to keep our “Pitta Dosha” in control during the summer season to not aggravate “Pitta” related diseases. The qualities of summer are hot, sharp, and penetrating. These qualities easily aggravate our body heat and show “Pitta” aggravated symptoms in our body such as sunburn, hot flashes, and loose motions. Experts say it is important for us to eat more alkaline foods to fight the heat in our bodies.

A few common foods help us to balance our “Pitta Dosha” such as Barley, Cucumber, Watermelon, Chia, Sago, and Basil seeds.  Ayurveda recommends that you drink enough water and a variety of fluids such as cold water, buttermilk, fruit juice, meat soup, mango juice, and stirred curd with pepper. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, including Asparagus, Celery, and Leafy Greens are part of the ideal “Grishma” diet. Among those foods, today I discuss miracle seed Barley that helps us to control our body heat as well as enhance the functions of our urinary system.

Barley is mentioned in the “Suka Dhanya” category in Ayurveda. Explained as dry, cold, heavy, and sweet. It is known as a good laxative that manages “Vata Dosha” in the intestines. Acharya Charaka mentioned “Yava” as “nityasevaniya dravya” which meant food for daily intake that underlines the importance of barley in disease prevention and health management. Due to its diuretic power, Barley is commonly used as a natural remedy for urinary infections and to prevent the formation of urinary calculi. Susrutha Acharya has mentioned “Yava” as an astringent, sweet, and pungent post-digestion, cold in potency and pacifies “Pitta” and “Kapha”, good for wounds, increases flatus and feces, improving digestion, mitigates fat and “Vata Dosha”, purifies blood and “Pitta Dosha” (Su.su.46/41).

Ayurveda uses Yava/ Barley in many medicinal preparations as well as in diet to prevent or control many diseases caused by overnutrition like diabetes. You can add barley to your curries and soup as a thickener. Barley is also a rich source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, and pyridoxine. It also contains beta-glucans.  A bottle of Barley water is a perfect drink for you to carry with you every day in summer when you run, walk on tracks, or work. To make Barley water, soak half a cup of Barley seed one night in two cups of water. Then add another three cups of water and boil it well. Then drain the water and use this water as normal drinking water. For young adults, you can add bee honey and lemon juice to this Barley water once it cooled.  It is the perfect detoxing and refreshing drink on a school athletic day for children.

Photo by Sharmilee Jayaprakash


Dr (Mrs.) Nadeeka S. Perera,
MPA (PIM-SJP-SL), BAMS(UOC-SL), Dip. In Counselling (IOP-SL)
Ayurvedic Physician, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Your comments and interesting areas are welcome to discuss Ayurveda aspects. Please Email: mnsperera80@gmail.com

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