Superfoods for Your Body Type: Summer Edition

Superfoods for Your Body Type: Summer Edition

In This Article

Choose the Right Diet for You!

Choosing the right foods has become extremely complex, controversial, and confusing for most people. With promises coming from every angle of the food pyramid, from paleo to vegetarian to vegan to gluten- and dairy-free, making healthy choices has become more confusing than ever! 

In this article, I will describe very simple, basic rules of eating according to nature’s harvest and your body type. Then, I will show you how to identify superfoods for your body type this winter, when you might need them most. 

Don't know your body type? Take the quiz! 

Ayurvedic Eating Rule #1: Eat Foods That Are in Season

It is really very simple. Print out my free seasonal grocery lists or find them in my book,  The 3-Season Diet  . Then and circle the seasonal foods you like and eat more of those foods during that season.

Spring is governed by earth and water, and is usually quite wet and muddy with rain or snow-melt. All body types should eat more light and dry foods such as berries, sprouts and greens found on the Spring (kapha-balancing) Grocery List    to combat the heaviness and congestion that spring can bring.

Summer is governed by fire, and is, generally, hot and fiery. All body types should eat more cooling foods such as salads, smoothies and fresh fruit found on the Summer (pitta-balancing) Grocery List  to stay cool, calm and hydrated in the heat of the summer.

Winter is governed by air, and is cold and dry. All body types should eat more nourishing and warming foods such as soups, grains and steamed veggies found on the Winter (vata-balancing) Grocery List . These foods are higher in proteins and fats, which have the purpose of insulating the body during the cold months.

Nature’s harvest of warming, higher protein and fatty foods in the winter help to balance its cold and dry extremes. After winter, nature harvests sprouts, berries and leafy greens to antidote the congestive tendencies of spring, and then cooling fruits and veggies in the summer to balance out the heat. Eating off of the seasonal grocery lists provides the perfect antidote for the extremes of each season to keep each body type balanced.

Ayurvedic Eating Rule #2: Adjusting for Your Predominant Body Type

While each body type should change their diet for all three growing seasons or harvest, they must also emphasize seasonal eating during the season of their predominant or primary body type. Vata types in the winter, pitta types in the summer and kapha types in the spring must pay more attention to eating seasonally. Here is why:

  1. During the spring, easygoing kapha types must strictly follow the decongesting Spring Grocery List to antidote the tendency to gain weight, hold onto water and become congested.
  2. During the summer, hot and fiery pitta types must be extra strict to eat off the Summer Grocery List to stay cool and calm.
  3. During the winter, cold and dry vata types must eat more strictly off the Winter Grocery List of warming and insulating foods to stay nourished and balanced.

Ayurvedic Eating Rule #3: Identify the Superfood Season for Your Body Type

When you are in the season that correlates with your primary body type, such as summer if you are primarily pitta, all the foods on the Summer Grocery List with an asterisk are going to be superfoods. The foods with asterisks on each of the grocery lists are the foods that are primarily grown in that season. The foods with asterisks will have more therapeutic qualities for the related body type during that season.

Note: We have two versions of our Free Seasonal Grocery Lists:

  1. The simplified, pretty and colorful rackcards that you might have received in packages from us and that are easy to take to the grocery store. These lists DO NOT have the asterisks we are discussing.
  2. The extensive, full page PDFs, below, and at the links under Rule #1 are the Grocery Lists with the asterisks.

5 Reasons to Eat Summer Superfoods

1. Digestion is Weaker—Not Stronger in the Summer

It’s important to get as much fresh food as possible from the garden this time of year. Too many hard-to-digest barbecues can overwhelm the weaker summer digestion. As summertime fruits and veggies are “cooked” on the vine all summer long, they are very easy to digest and don’t require much of the stomach’s digestive heat to process.

Remember, as an attempt to dissipate heat from the body, the digestive fire is naturally weaker during the summer, and stronger during the winter months. (1-4) Perhaps this was part of our ancestral way to not overheat in the summer and a way to ensure the consumption of cooling foods during the hot months.

2. Gut Bacteria Call the Digestive Shots

Each season, there is a shift in the type of microbes that reside in the soil and, in turn, on the foods grown in the soil. If you eat seasonal foods, the microbes in your gut will change from season to season as well! (5) Summer-harvested, organically-grown foods inoculate the gut with summer food-digesting microbes. Our gut microbiome shifts from being better equipped to digest easy-to-breakdown carbohydrates and starches during the summer to dense, fibrous foods like nuts, seeds, and grains in the winter. (1,2,4)

3. Heat Rises in the Summer

During the summer months, there is a thermal accumulation effect that can bring heat up into the liver, stomach and respiratory tract. By the end of summer, when the thermal accumulation intensifies, this upward-moving heat (called udvartina in Ayurveda) can dry out the respiratory tract, causing sensitivity to heat, certain foods, environmental irritants, and pollutants.

4. Occasional Summer Constipation

For the same reasons described above, the large intestine—which is governed by downward-moving vata (air)—is pulled up through the enteric cycle to the liver, where the intestinal air or vata fans the digestive fire. This has the potential to not only overheat the stomach but also leave the downward flow of (apana) vata weakened, causing occasional bouts of constipation that can be worsened with air travel.

Instead of toxins leaving the body through the digestive system as they should, they can be re-absorbed to the liver and gallbladder where they can create bile sludge. Bile is the regulator of healthy bowel movements. Poor bile flow can further complicate summer constipation. End-of-summer superfoods, like beets and apples, are powerful bile-movers or cholagogues that boost downward-moving digestion and healthy elimination.

5. The Antidote to Summer’s Heat

Ignoring these natural laws and eating lots of dry grains, meats, hot or spicy foods or acidic drinks (coffee, beer, and wine) will easily dry out, irritate and inflame the body’s delicate mucous membranes, where the good immune-boosting microbes live.

Excess dryness in the gut and respiratory tract can compromise the immune strength that is much-needed during the winter. These mucous membranes must stay moist in order for healthy immune function.

Ayurvedic Eating Rule #4: Identify the Summer Superfoods for Pitta Body Types

The long days of summer provide more daylight hours to eat ourselves into balance… or eat ourselves out of balance. Understanding the importance of summer fare and following certain summer digestive guidelines are the keys for a healthy fall and winter.

Summer’s cooling harvest is the antidote to the extremes of summer. The summer’s harvest is loaded with cooling fruits and veggies that act as antidotes to the dry, hot season.

Download my Summer Grocery List here. The foods on the Summer (pitta) grocery list with an asterisk are your superfoods this summer.

Early Summer Superfoods

  • Baby kale
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Dandelion
  • Parsley
  • Salad greens
  • Some berries and cherries
  • Spinach

Mid-Summer Superfoods

  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Coconut and coconut oil
  • Cucumbers
  • Ghee
  • Green peppers
  • Kale
  • Leafy greens
  • Lettuces
  • Mint
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes

Late-Summer Superfoods

  • All of the early and mid-summer superfoods
  • Apples
  • Fennel
  • Melons
  • Pomegranate
  • Sweet ripe fruits
  • Watermelons

Superfoods for Other Body Types

Superfoods for Pitta Types in the Summer:

Eat the superfoods  listed above or download the Summer (Pitta) Grocery List. The foods with an asterisk are your superfoods for summer. On the Summer (pitta-balancing) Grocery List

Superfoods for Vata Types in the Summer:

The Superfoods for vata body types in the summer are foods that are found on BOTH  the Summer (pitta-balancing) Grocery List and the Winter (vata-balancing) Grocery List   shown below. These foods are balancing for both pitta and vata.

For a full list of the superfoods that are on both the summer (pitta) and winter (vata) grocery lists see below.

Superfoods for Vata, Vata-Pitta, and Pitta-Vata Body Types in the Summer Season

VEGETABLES:
Artichokes
Avocados
Bean sprouts
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Chicory
Collard greens
Corn
Eggplant
Endive
Fennel
Green beans
Kale
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Mustard greens
Okra
Parsley
Peas
Pumpkin
Seaweed, cooked
Squash, acorn
Squash, winter
Sweet potatoes
Swiss chard
Tomatoes
Turnip greens
Zucchini

CONDIMENTS:
Carob 
Mayonnaise 
NUTS & SEEDS:
Almonds
Coconut
Flax
Macadamias
Sunflower

OILS:
Ghee
Unadulterated EV olive
FRUIT:
Apples
Apricots
Blueberries
Cantaloupe
Cherries
Cranberries
Dates
Figs
Grapefruit
Grapes
Mangoes
Nectarines
Oranges
Papayas
Peaches
Pears
Persimmons
Pineapple
Plums
Strawberries
Tangerines

MEAT & FISH:
Beef 
Chicken
Duck
Eggs
Fish
Lamb
Pork
Shrimp
Turkey

SPICES:
Anise
Asafoetida
Chamomile
Coriander
Cumin
Fennel
Peppermint
Saffron
Spearmint
SWEETENERS:
Maple Syrup (small amounts)
Raw Sugar
Rice Syrup

LEGUMES:
Mung – split, yellow
Tofu

BEVERAGES:
Water (room temp)

HERB TEAS:
No superfoods

WHOLE GRAINS:
Oats
Rice
Rye (moderation)
Wheat

DAIRY:
Butter
Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Ghee
Milk
Rice/Soy Milk

Superfoods for Kapha Types in the Summer

The Superfoods for kapha body types in the summer are  foods that are found  on BOTH  Summer (pitta-balancing) Grocery List and Spring (kapha-balancing) Grocery List shown below. These foods will be balancing for both pitta and kapha.

For a full list of the superfoods that are on both the summer (pitta) and spring (kapha) grocery lists see below.

Superfoods for Kapha, Kapha-Pitta, and Pitta-Kapha Body Types in the Summer Season

VEGETABLES:
Alfalfa Sprouts
Artichokes
Asparagus
Bean Sprouts
Bell Peppers
Bitter Melon
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Celery
Chicory
Cilantro
Collard Greens
Corn
Dandelion
Endive
Fennel
Green Beans
Jicama
Kale
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Peas
Radishes
Seaweed
Snow Peas
Spinach
Swiss Chard
Watercress

CONDIMENTS: 
Carob

OILS:
Flax
Coconut Oil
FRUIT:
Apples
Blueberries
Dried Fruit
Papayas
Pears
Pomegranates
Raspberries
Strawberries

MEAT & FISH:
Chicken
Duck
Eggs
Fish
Lamb
Turkey

SPICES:
Anise
Asafoetida
Chamomile
Coriander
Cumin
Fennel
Peppermint
Saffron
Spearmint
NUTS & SEEDS:
Pumpkin
Sunflower

SWEETENERS:
Maple Syrup

LEGUMES:
Adzuki
Bean Sprouts
Black Gram
Fava
Garbanzo
Kidney
Lentils
Lima
Mung
Split Pea

BEVERAGES:
Water (room temp)

HERB TEA:
Chicory
Dandelion
Hibiscus

WHOLE GRAINS:
Barley
Oats, dry
Rice, brown or long grain
Rye

DAIRY:
Ghee 
Rice/Soy milk

What are some of your favorite spring superfoods for your body type? Let us know in the comments below! 

Additional Resources:

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Gratefully,
Dr. John

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