Superfoods For Your Body Type: Summer Edition

Superfoods For Your Body Type: Summer Edition

In This Article

Superfoods of Summer

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.

In this article, I will list my top preventive tips as well as my favorite summer foods we should all be seeking out. Let’s reap the benefits that summer was originally meant to bring us!

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.

  1. 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)

  1. 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.

Summer’s cooling harvest is the antidote to the extremes of summer. Download my Summer Grocery List here.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Summer Superfoods

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

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 by Body Type

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

Superfoods for Kapha (Vata-Kapha and Kapha-Vata) Body Types in the Summer

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

DAIRY:
Ghee 
Rice/Soy milk

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

Superfoods for Vata (Pitta-Vata and Vata-Pitta) Body Types in the Summer

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

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 
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


NUTS & SEEDS:
Almonds
Coconut
Flax
Macadamias
Sunflower

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

SWEETENERS:
Maple Syrup (small amounts)
Raw Sugar
Rice Syrup

LEGUMES:
Mung – split, yellow
Tofu

BEVERAGES:
Water (room temp)

HERB TEA:
No superfoods

WHOLE GRAINS:
Oats
Rice
Rye (moderation)
Wheat

We Recommend

Superfoods for Your Body Type: Spring Edition

Choosing the right foods has become extremely complex, controversial, and confusing for most people. Whether you are vata, pitta, or kapha, we’ve got you covered in this comprehensive guide for foods (and superfoods!) to eat this season.
green and yellow vegetable assortment

Superfoods for Your Body Type: Winter Edition

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

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4867428/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18193430
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28839072
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3949691/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28839072

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Gratefully,
Dr. John

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