Traditional Wisdom

The Healthiest Foods for Summer, According to Chinese Medicine

Exploring Solar Terms: 'Major Heat' (July 23 to Aug. 6)
BY Moreen Liao TIMEJuly 22, 2022 PRINT

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

2022 Date: July 23 to Aug 6

Characteristics and Meaning: Major Heat is the last solar term of summer, and it’s often accompanied by heavy rain and thunder.

The ancient Chinese saw summer as representing the peak of one’s life, precipitating the decline in life at middle age and onward, in the same way that summer soon cools into autumn, with winter following. Knowing the solar terms allows one to live in harmony with the ways of nature. This is beneficial for our health and allows us to move in sync with the rhythms of the world.

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

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.

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

It’s also good to avoid being caught 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 the zusanli acupoint, as shown in the accompanying image. The famous doctor, Sun Simiao, in China’s 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.

Epoch Times Photo
Finger on point called ST36 Leg Three Miles ZUSANLI. (Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock)

Foods to Eat

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

Those who have excess body heat can eat:

  • Tomato
  • Eggplant
  • Peach
Moreen Liao
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She’s also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of an Institute in Sydney, and the founder of Heritage Formulations, a complete solution for TCM professionals. Visit for details.
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