Cooling Foods to Help Balance Excess Heat

Cooling Foods to Help Balance Excess Heat

If you experience symptoms of excess Heat such as cankers sores, nosebleeds, red eyes, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and even insomnia, try these tips and foods to balance your body and health.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine illness and imbalance can arise several different ways, one of them being the disharmony of hot and cold in the body. During the warm summer months, we are more prone to signs of Heat due to the influence of the weather as well as many dietary sources such as BBQ foods, higher intake of sugar, alcohol, and spicy foods.

While we commonly think of heat as a physical sensation, in TCM the term Heat can also be used to describe a set of internal conditions. Excess Heat often manifest with symptoms of cankers sores, nosebleeds, red eyes, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and even insomnia. If you experience any of these symptoms, here are some cooling foods that you can try incorporating into your diet to help you restore balance to your health.

Cooling Fruits

  • Apple
  • Cantaloupe
  • Citrus fruits
  • Pear
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon

Cooling Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet corn
  • Swiss chard
  • Zucchini

Cooling Legumes & Grains

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Mung beans
  • Soy milk
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Wheat

Other Cooling Foods

  • Cilantro
  • Dandelion greens
  • Lemon balm
  • Marjoram
  • Nettles
  • Peppermint
  • Seaweed
  • White peppercorns

In addition to these specific foods, preparation also plays an important role. Grilling, frying, and even baking foods can contribute more Heat to your food. Instead, try steaming, simmering, or lightly sauteing if needed. Make sure to drink plenty of water and to avoid sugary and alcoholic drinks. And finally, as refreshing and tempting as it may be, try to avoid foods and drinks straight from the fridge as it may contribute too much Cold to your body.

At the core of TCM is the belief in balance, and one of the most effective ways to balance our health is to listen to our bodies and adjust what we eat accordingly. Food-as-medicine is a powerful concept and is at the core of almost all Eastern medicines. If you are feeling unwell, try adjusting your diet accordingly and see how it can affect you.

  • Healing with Whole Foods, Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford