Quenching your thirst with an ice-cold drink – little can beat that on a hot day. We naturally crave coolness during the summer, and that’s indeed important to stay balanced. But according to Ayurveda, a scoop of ice cubes in your glass is not the ideal way to seek out that coolness. In fact, a much better way to support your body is to drink your drinks warm or at room temperature, even during the summer months. If you leave the ice cubes and choose the right ingredients, you’ll be putting summer drinks on the table that provide natural cooling in no time.
In this blog, I explain how to do this. I also share with you 3 recipes of my favorite drinks to enjoy all summer long.
Cooling drinks: a must for the entire summer
In the Netherlands, staying cool during summer may not seem like such a challenge. In between some sunny days and maybe a heat wave, there are also plenty of chillier moments to cool off. Yet even on a cloudy Dutch summer’s day, it is important to ensure sufficient coolness from within, as this prevents Pitta in your body from becoming unbalanced. This dosha is not only at risk of becoming elevated when the sun shines brightly, but in fact all summer long – the entire season is dominated by Pitta. Creating mental and physical coolness is therefore important for a feeling healthy, calm & relaxed at this time of year. But why isn’t an ice-cold drink the best way to do so?
Coldness & your digestion
As delicious as they can be, Ayurveda isn’t much of a fan of ice-cold drinks. Cold food & drinks are detrimental to digestion. In order for your food to be processed optimally, proper blood flow is required. Warm drinks cause the blood vessels in the stomach to expand and thus support digestion. Cold drinks, on the other hand, cause the blood vessels in your stomach to contract, extinguishing your digestive fire – whereas a brightly burning digestive fire (agni) is the basis of Ayurvedic health.
Fortunately, there are also ways to cool your body from within that don’t disturb your digestion: by choosing ingredients that naturally have a cooling effect on the body.
Opt for sweet, bitter & astringent
The trick lies in choosing ingredients with a sweet, bitter or astringent taste. These bring Pitta into balance and cool the fire element that characterizes this dosha. Drinks with these ingredients have a much more balancing effect on the body than coldness does, as they provide effective cooling from within but don’t disrupt digestion. Here are 3 Ayurvedic summer drinks for natural cooling!
1. Apple-lime smoothie with ginger & cardamom
This hydrating smoothie energizes and balances blood sugar levels. Raw apples are astringent and lime provides lightness & coolness. Ginger and cardamom keep your digestive fire burning without overheating your body.
Here’s what you need for one large glass:
- 1 apple
- 1 pinch of cardamom (or 2 ground cardamom pods)
- 1 slice of ginger
- ¼ lime
- 125 ml water
Remove the core and cut the apple into pieces. Grate the ginger. Put the apple, cardamom and ginger in a blender. Squeeze out the lime and add the water. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.
2. Mint-cucumber lemonade
This light drink is one to sip all day long. Cucumber is a natural cooler, while the fresh scent of mint provides relaxation. Lemon is a thirst quencher that is simultaneously cleansing – and a special case too. This fruit is naturally acidic, a taste that normally increases Pitta, but has a nutritious & stabilizing effect in the final stage of digestion, which actually balances Pitta. Lemon also provides optimal digestive support.
You will need for one pitcher (4 glasses):
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 8 grams of mint leaves
- 1 litre of water
Cut the cucumber into thin slices and add those to the jug, along with the water. Slice the lemon and squeeze the juice in the jug. Add the squeezed slices to the water as well. Roughly chop the mint and add.
3. Banana smoothie with cardamom & coconut water
This nutritious smoothie is great for hot summer days. Both bananas and coconut water are rich in electrolytes: salts & minerals that your body needs to be able to retain water and that are essential for all kinds of important processes. When sweating a lot, you lose electrolytes at a rapid rate. This smoothie helps to replenish that deficiency and thus combats dehydration and muscle cramps.
Bananas are sweet and rich in natural sugars. They are naturally harder to digest than other fruits, but with lime & cardamom as a digestive aid, you support your body during that process.
Here’s what you need for one glass:
- 3 bananas
- 1 tsp cardamom (or 5 ground pods)
- 250 ml coconut water
- ½ lime
Cut the bananas into slices and put them in a blender, along with the cardamom and coconut water. Squeeze out the lime juice into the blender. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.
Of course, you can also alter these recipes to your own taste – feel free to add your own touch. Keep the 3 tastes (sweet, bitter, astringent) in mind and serve your summerdrinks at room temperature, and you’ll be fine!
Are you not feeling fit and would you like personal advice on how to feel at your best this summer? Or do you have mental or physical complaints that you want to address in a natural & holistic way? Please contact me, I would be happy to help you!