Coming In Hot

Cool off from the inside out with these summer-friendly foods and wellness tips

Cooling pops for summer
Cooling pops for summer

Living in a tropical climate can teach you a lot about how to work with the heat. So often we brace against it, but there are certain holistic practices that can alleviate it and leave us feeling refreshed. Some methods are tried and true, like dipping into a body of water as often as possible, but the way our body absorbs heat and cools itself is also profound. When channeled into therapeutic care, as I do at my spa, this dynamic energy can create a beneficial physiological response. For instance, using a warm cloth opens the pores, while applying a cold compress to the forehead can help to relieve a headache.

Some cooling methods are more subtle, however, and these have become the lifeways I’ve learned to rely on in Florida. The ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda touts the benefits of eating cooling foods during the summer—including classics like coconut, watermelon, and cucumber as well as lemon—and limiting dairy and spice. Aloe vera, which I grow in my gardens, is another near instant cure for heat. I love to include aloe juice in smoothies and juice blends because it is composed of 99 percent water, thereby supporting hydration. An aloe spritzer with lime and mint just might become your go-to sip this season. Aloe is also an excellent source of vitamin C and helps to soothe the skin when applied topically. 

Another plant remedy in rotation come summertime is chamomile. Renowned in traditional herbalism for its soothing effects, chamomile seems to pull heat right out of the skin. Studies suggest that it has mild sedative and anti-inflammatory properties that help to alleviate all kinds of heat, from physical to emotional. I like to keep cotton pads soaked in chamomile water in a glass container in the fridge for our family to use after an active day out in the sun.

However, my favorite way to celebrate summer’s heat is to bask in the balmy nights. I find sweet relief in ending the day at the beach to marvel at the stars glimmering overhead, feel the cooling breeze rise from the water, and take part in the rhythm of the season. 

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