9 Healthiest Foods for Summer According to Chinese Medicine

July 12, 2017 Updated: July 19, 2017

A solar term is a period of approximately two weeks based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. There are 24 solar terms in a year, which make up the traditional Chinese calendar system used to guide farming and everyday life. The calendar contributes to the ancient Chinese philosophy that living in accordance with nature will enable a harmonious life. This article series delves into each solar term and offers guidance on how to navigate the changes of season in order to live happier and healthier.

Solar term: Major Heat

2017 Date: July 22 to Aug 6

Characteristics and meaning: Major Heat is the last solar term of Summer, often accompanied by heavy rain and thunder.

The ancient Chinese saw Summer as the peak of one’s life, but it precipitates the decline in the same way that Summer soon cools into Autumn with Winter proceeding, so as in life with middle age and so on. Knowing the solar terms allows one to live in harmony with ways of nature. This is beneficial for our health, and allows us to live in harmony with the rhythms.

Impact on people: There is an old Chinese saying, “The best time to fix Winter diseases is Summer, and the best time to treat Summer diseases is Winter”. Winter diseases are like extremely cold ice present inside our bodies; if we want to melt them away, we need to find a time when both the environment and our bodies are hot. Major Heat is such a time.

Our bodies will appreciate it in long run if we can avoid eating cold foods.

The top Chinese doctors work with nature to treat diseases, so can we as individuals. We can help our bodies to recover from our old problems and prepare to transition into a safe winter if we take care of our bodies well.

Living in harmony with the season: As explained in our Minor Heat solar terms article, with how the five elements generate each other; from the fire of Summer to the metal of Autumn, the Earth is missing (from its position within the five elements). The Earth element is a reflection of the organs in our bodies, such as stomach and spleen, which are in combination regarded as a digestive system in traditional Chinese medicine. However, in missing the Earth element in the cycle of seasons, we are prone to having poor appetite, an upset stomach, or bad digestion.

Those who have excess body heat can eat tomato, eggplant, and peach. (zoryanchik/shutterstock)

Although it might be hard starting out, or a major change for some people, our bodies will appreciate it in long run if we can avoid eating cold foods. Cold for this purpose means colder than our bodies’ temperature. Especially food colder than room temperature should be avoided.

It is also good to avoid being caught out in or soaked by the rain. And it’s good to have your belly covered if you find yourself in an air-conditioned room. For those feeling hot, you may massage the back of your neck to reduce the feeling of heat. Anyone (even those not feeling hot) can massage Zusanli, as shown in the accompanying image. The famous doctor, Si Miao Sun, in Chinese Tang Dynasty, lived to be more than 140 years old. He said, “The Zusanli acupoint helps to strengthen one’s health and avoid disease. It is one of the foremost acupoints for longevity. It helps to improve digestion, activate blood circulation, and repel humidity inside one’s body, according to ancient Chinese medicinal theory.

Foods to eat:

  • Lamb
  • Potato
  • Yam
  • Red sweet potato
  • Cumin
  • Pepper

Those who have excess body heat can eat

  • Tomato
  • Eggplant
  • Peach

Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a certified aromatherapist; former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, Australia; group vice president of New Directions Australia; and founder of Ausganica, one of Australia’s leading makers of certified organic skincare and cosmetics. Visit Ausganica.com