by Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac.
While summertime brings more sunshine and energy, the longer, hotter days can also lead to dehydration, exhaustion and burnout. That’s why it’s essential to take measures to stay cool and hydrated.
Here are some simple tips to help you reduce dehydration, inflammation and anxiety while keeping you energized to enjoy the most Yang season of the year.
3 Ways to Optimize Your Hydration this Summer
Eat hydrating foods including millet, cucumbers and fruits with high water content. Caution with a thick tongue coat or tendency to be very phlegmy (sinuses, throat, eyes). Sweet flavor is hydrating and tonifies the Earth organs (Spleen and Stomach) but excess sugar intake can cause dampness and a fungal terrain to develop in the body.
Summer is the season associated with the Fire element and stone fruits, including apricots, cherries and plums, are considered Fire element fruits. These summertime fruits nourish the blood and support blood circulation. Watermelon, while more of an Earth element fruit, is also good to eat during the Summer because it’s so hydrating.
In general, be cautious with eating fruit with other foods as it can slow down your digestion.
Implement this hydration protocol*:
A rough rule of thumb is to drink ½ ounce of water for every pound of body weight per day. A 200 pound person thus needs 100 ounces of water daily. You can break up the total number of ounces of water you need to drink daily into five or six parts. For example, if you’re 200 pounds and need to drink 100 ounces of water a day, you can break this up to drink 20 ounces five times a day. If you do more physical activity, you’ll want to drink additional water to avoid dehydration from sweating.
In general, you should drink water between meals to avoid interfering with the digestive process. However, you should drink water anytime you’re thirsty, even in the middle of a meal. Water intake in the middle of a meal doesn’t drastically affect the process of digestion, but dehydration during food intake does.
Each time you drink water, place a small amount of unrefined sea salt (such as pink Himalayan salt) in your water or under your tongue.
Drink at least 2 glasses of water first thing in the morning to compensate for the water loss during sleep.
Throughout the day, try to drink water half an hour before each major meal of the day and two to two and a half hours after you eat.
Drinking water 30 minutes before a meal allows the water to be absorbed into the system and secreted into the stomach, preparing it to receive solid foods. When you drink water before food, you avoid many gastrointestinal problems, including bloating, heartburn, constipation, and weight gain.
Drinking water two to two and half hours after you eat will stimulate the satiety hormones and wrap up the digestive processes in the intestinal tract. It’ll also keep you from experiencing a false sensation of hunger when your body is simply craving more water to complete the digestion of already eaten food.
You should try to drink water at regular intervals throughout the day to avoid thirst. In addition, be sure to drink water before physical activity, such as walking, or other more strenuous forms of exercise that cause sweating.
Drink Summer teas including Lemon Verbena, Chamomile, lemon peel, and even green tea. See the full list of teas you can grow in your garden to keep you cool this Summer here.
Iced tea during hot weather is OK but be cautious as excess consumption of cold and iced drinks can damage the Spleen Qi leading to poor digestion and fatigue.
In general, high activity in hot weather can lead to internal heat, which can keep your nervous system amped and cause inflammation.
Hydrating and cooling down your body helps calm down your nervous system and help you feel more relaxed overall.
If you’re in our area, you can join me live on August 10th for a Yoga Integration Summer Half Day Retreat.
*This hydration protocol is based on the Water Cure Protocol
Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac. is Co-Owner and Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Japanese Acupuncture. Setareh offers clinical services and transformational workshops that blend the ancient practices of Classical Chinese Medicine and Yoga. More information at www.setarehmoafi.com and www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com.