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Best spices to keep you healthy in summer

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Best spices to keep you healthy in summer

What condiments are you now using in your kitchen?

Understanding which spices to incorporate into your cooking each season can significantly enhance the balance of your constitution.

When Pitta becomes aggravated, specially during summer, it can lead to issues such as inflammation, digestive problems, and emotional irritability. Hence, using the right spices is essential and a vital part of your Ayurvedic diet.

This is the list of the best spices to keep you healthy in summer.

The principle of like increases like

In Ayurveda, the principle of “like increases like” is fundamental to maintaining balance within the body. Each dosha—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—has a unique set of attributes. Vata is characterized by qualities such as cold, dry, light, and mobile; Pitta is hot, sharp, oily, and light; and Kapha is heavy, cold, damp, and stable. Understanding these attributes is necessary to selecting the right spices and foods, especially as they relate to the changing seasons.

Just as doshas have specific characteristics, so do the seasons. Summer, for example, is naturally light, hot, dry in certain regions while others may be humid, closely mirroring the qualities of Pitta dosha. This alignment can lead to an aggravation of Pitta if we are not mindful of balancing these qualities. According to the principle of “like increases like,” when the environment around us shares the same qualities as a particular dosha, it tends to provoke or increase that dosha. Conversely, adopting attributes that are opposite can help to restore balance.

To counteract the hot and sharp qualities of summer and prevent issues such as inflammation, acid reflux, rashes, irritability, and dehydration, it is essential to incorporate elements that are cooling, hydrating, and calming into our diets and routines. Spices are a great friend in the kitchen that can help us achieve just that.

By using the right foods and spices, and adopting mindfully the principles of Ayurveda, you can harmonize your body with the natural rhythms of the environment.

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Understanding the elements of Pitta dosha: Fire and water

Pitta dosha is primarily made up of the elements of fire and water. Each of these elements contributes distinct qualities that define the nature of Pitta.

  • The fire element imparts qualities such as heat, intensity, and transformation. Fire is responsible for digestion and metabolism, manifesting in the body’s ability to convert food into energy and nutrients. This transformative power is evident not only physically but also intellectually, as it drives clarity of thought, ambition, and a sharp intellect.
  • The water element brings fluidity, cohesion, and lubrication to the Pitta dosha. It tempers the intensity of the fire element, ensuring balance and harmony within the body. Water maintains moisture levels in tissues and helps in the smooth functioning of various bodily systems, including the digestive and circulatory systems.

Together, these elements govern the characteristics of Pitta, influencing how individuals with this dosha react to the environment, process emotions, and utilize energy.

The negative side

When the delicate balance of fire and water within Pitta dosha is disrupted, it can lead to a state of aggravation and, consequently, various imbalances and diseases. An excess of the fire element can result in a range of inflammatory conditions. This heightened intensity can manifest as acid reflux, ulcers, and chronic heartburn, as the digestive fire becomes too strong. On a systemic level, inflammation can contribute to skin conditions such as dermatitis, rashes, and acne, reflecting the internal heat and irritability outwardly.

In addition to physical symptoms, an overabundance of Pitta can disturb mental and emotional equilibrium. Increased fire qualities can drive feelings of anger, impatience, and jealousy, while excessive water may lead to emotional turbulence and instability. This mental unrest adds to stress and anxiety levels, exacerbating physical symptoms through the mind-body connection.

By understanding the interplay of fire and water within Pitta dosha, we can better grasp why particular foods and lifestyle choices are recommended for maintaining balance. Strategies to cool, hydrate, and pacify the body are essential to managing the fierce energy of Pitta, particularly during the summer months when its qualities are naturally amplified.

Cooling spices for Pitta dosha season

Summer brings with it the blazing sun, high temperatures, and the need to adjust our diets to keep our bodies cool and balanced. The following spices can be incredibly beneficial to incorporate into your cooking during the summer months:

Coriander

Coriander is known for its cooling properties, making it a valuable addition to your diet, especially during hot weather. It helps reduce internal heat and soothes the digestive system by balancing the Pitta dosha. The rasa (taste) of coriander is primarily bitter and astringent, which contributes to its cooling effect. The virya (potency) of coriander is cooling, further enhancing its ability to reduce heat. The vipaka (post-digestive effect) is sweet, making it gentle on the digestive tract. You can use coriander seeds, powder, or fresh leaves to enhance the flavor of your meals while keeping Pitta in check. Whether you sprinkle it over salads, mix it into curries, or brew it as a tea, coriander offers both culinary and health benefits.

Fennel

Fennel seeds are excellent for digestion and have a mild cooling effect on the body. According to Ayurveda, fennel seeds possess sweet (madhura) rasa, cooling (shita) virya, and sweet (madhura) vipaka. Chewing fennel seeds after meals can help prevent bloating and acidity, common issues during the hot months. Additionally, they can aid in balancing the Pitta dosha, promoting overall digestive health, and providing a refreshing sensation.

Mint

Mint is refreshing and cooling. Its soothing properties make it perfect for summer drinks, salads, and chutneys. Mint helps calm the digestive system and reduce Pitta’s fiery nature. Additionally, mint has a sweet (Madhura) taste (rasa), a cooling effect (virya), and a sweet post-digestive effect (vipaka). Its versatile nature makes it a beneficial herb for balancing the body’s internal heat and promoting overall well-being.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant spice commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. Although it has also warming properties, it can still be beneficial for balancing Pitta as it helps reduce inflammation and cleanse the liver. Adding fresh or dry turmeric to your dishes, such as curries, soups, and teas, not only enhances their flavor but also provides significant health benefits.

Cumin

Cumin seeds aid in digestion and detoxification. They have a slightly bitter taste, or tikta rasa, which helps stimulate digestive enzymes without increasing heat in the body. The virya (potency) of cumin is mildly heating, and its vipaka (post-digestive effect) is pungent. Incorporate cumin into your daily cooking to balance Pitta. Additionally, cumin’s properties make it beneficial for overall digestive health and can aid in reducing bloating and gas. Regular use of cumin seeds can support metabolic processes and enhance nutrient absorption.

Cardamom

Cardamom has a sweet and cooling nature. In Ayurveda, it is known for its unique properties: its rasa (taste) is sweet and pungent, its virya (potency) is cooling, and its vipaka (post-digestive effect) is sweet. It’s particularly beneficial for balancing excess Pitta and promoting good digestion. Cardamom can also help in relieving respiratory issues, detoxifying the body, and improving oral health.

Roses

Rose, in both its water and petal forms, is cooling and soothing, making it ideal for pacifying Pitta. Rose water can be added to your recipes to provide a calming effect. It helps in reducing inflammation, promoting emotional balance, and cooling the body. Rose petals can be used in teas, salads, or as a garnish to impart a subtle, floral flavor and therapeutic benefits. Incorporating rose into your daily regimen can help balance Pitta’s heat and support overall tranquility.

Neem

Neem has a bitter taste and it is an excellent herb for balancing Pitta due to its cooling and purifying properties. It can be used in various forms such as tea, supplements, or even applied topically. Its potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects make it beneficial for skin health, helping to reduce acne, rashes, and other skin irritations. Additionally, neem aids in detoxification and supports the immune system. Regular use of neem can help maintain overall body balance by reducing excess heat and inflammation, promoting clear skin, and boosting overall wellness. Just make sure you add to your recipes just a tiny bit. Avoid if you are Vata dosha.

Vanilla

Vanilla is renowned for its sweet and warming qualities. Although primarily used for its flavor, vanilla also offers several health benefits. It contains antioxidants that help combat oxidative stress and may support heart health. Vanilla’s soothing properties make it helpful for reducing stress and promoting relaxation. You can incorporate vanilla into your diet by adding vanilla extract to your teas, breakfast porridges, smoothies, and even some savory dishes to balance the flavors and provide a comforting, aromatic experience. Vanilla helps in creating a sense of calm and well-being, making it an excellent addition for supporting overall health and tranquility during the Pitta dosha season.

Lavender

Lavender is celebrated for its distinctive fragrance and numerous health benefits. Known for its cooling and calming properties, lavender is particularly effective at balancing Pitta dosha. The herb is often used to alleviate stress, anxiety, and insomnia due to its soothing effects on the nervous system. Lavender can be consumed in the form of tea or added in very small amounts to various dishes. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties also make it beneficial for skin health, helping to soothe irritated skin and promote healing.

Navigating Summer for Vata and Kapha Women

While Pitta dosha is the main concern during summer, women with dominant Vata or Kapha doshas also need to consider how to stay balanced in the heat.

For Vata Women

Vata dosha is characterized by air and ether elements, leading to qualities such as dryness and coolness. Too much heat can dehydrate and destabilize Vatas. In addition to the spices listed above, here are some other condiments and herbs that can help.

  1. Ginger

Ginger is warming, making it ideal for Vata types. It aids digestion and prevents gas and bloating, common issues for Vata individuals.

  1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a warming effect but also helps regulate blood sugar levels and improve circulation. Use it in moderation to avoid overheating during the Pitta dosha season.

  1. Garam masala

Garam masala is a blend of spices that provides warming properties without being excessively heating. It helps in balancing digestion and can add a flavorful boost to Vata individuals’ diets

For Kapha Women

Kapha dosha consists of earth and water elements, leading to qualities like heaviness and coolness. Summer can actually be a great stimulating time for Kapha women, providing an opportunity to energize and lighten up. To support Kapha women during the hottest months, incorporating also the following spices can be beneficial:

  1. Black Pepper

Black pepper stimulates metabolism and digestion. It helps break down Kapha’s heaviness and improves circulation.

  1. Cloves

Cloves have a warming effect and are great for stimulating digestion. They can be added to dishes like curries and stews or can be brewed in tea for a digestive boost.

  1. Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are warming and pungent, helping to stimulate digestion and clear congestion, which can be beneficial for Kapha women, even during summer.

Other practical tips for the Pitta dosha season

While incorporating the right spices into your diet is essential for maintaining dosha balance during the summer, other lifestyle and dietary practices can also play a significant role. Understanding the unique needs of your dosha and adjusting your habits accordingly can help you stay cool, rejuvenated, and peaceful throughout the season.

These practices will help you thrive in the warmer months.

  • Hydrate Wisely: Regardless of your dosha, staying hydrated is crucial in summer. Drink plenty of water infused with cooling herbs like mint, fennel, or coriander.
  • Balance Your Diet: Consume light, cooling foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads. Avoid heavy, oily, and spicy foods that can aggravate Pitta.
  • Practice Moderation: Even beneficial spices should be used in moderation to avoid imbalances. Listen to your body and adjust your diet as needed.

By incorporating these Ayurvedic principles and spices to keep you healthy in summer, you can maintain balance and enjoy a happy, vibrant summer season.

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Hi! I'm Monica

My life purpose is to help women achieve physical, mental, and emotional alignment, improve their digestion, balance their hormones, and feel more confident in their own skin.

Join me on PRANA APP for a journey of self discovery, balance, and bliss. All you need and more to restore your health and thrive is waiting for you on Prana app.

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