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Heat of the Night: How to Cool Your Body According to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Lately, we’ve been experiencing a heat wave in Southern California and I’ve noticed that I’m less patient than normal. Even my normally mellow dogs seem a bit more agitated. That’s because when our body has too much heat, we tend to be more irritated and fiery, mentally and physically.

According to both Indian Ayurveda principles and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), our bodies require proper balance to be at its healthiest. Ayurveda categorizes our body into three doshasvata(air), pitta(fire) and kapha(earth). We all have unique compositions of these three doshas, usually with one that’s more dominant than the other two. Ayurveda believes that your body is balanced or at equilibrium when your doshas are closest to their composition when you were born.

TCM categorizes our body into five general types depending on our Yin and Yang levels: hot, cold, dry, damp and stuck. When we have too much Yang in us, or if we’re deficient in our Yin, we tend to have excess heat. Mentally it makes us quicker to snap and less agreeable, while physically our skin is prone to redness and dryness. If our body is chronically in this state, it can even lead to high blood pressure, acid reflux and ulcers.

Some of us do naturally lean toward the hot or pitta body type. If you tend to run hot when you sleep or find yourself wearing shorts and flip-flops when others are bundled up in scarfs and boots, you likely are hot. The weather, our lifestyle and our diet also affect our body type!

When it’s hot like this recent heat we’ve been having, we should pay even more attention to what we eat in order to cool our body naturally. I recommend avoiding food that promotes pitta or increases Yang, like fried and spicy food. Instead, eat more refreshing vegetables like arugula, kale, tomato, asparagus and cucumber as well as fruits like watermelon, apple and grapefruit. Instead of reaching for sodas to quench our thirst, try peppermint tea, green tea or chrysanthemum tea.

Once we cool our body, it’s easier for us to chill our mind and relax and enjoy the summer!

XO - Serena

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