Ready for Summer? Experience a cool summer with Ayurveda! By Pratibha Shah, BAMS, Masters in Ayurveda, MPH

Summer season is finally upon us!!

As we make plans to immerse full throttle into outdoor fun and activities, it will be good to prepare for this pleasant yet intense season, to make sure nothing spoils the fun.

Ayurveda, an ancient Eastern Holistic science, provides great insight into seasonal transitions and guidelines for living in harmony with the nature’s energies. We operate best and most optimally when we respect and align with the changes in nature around us. So before the mighty Sun manifests in its full fury, let us list some dos and don’ts to ensure we do not suffer the ill effects from the extreme characteristics of this season.

As per Ayurveda, the digestive fire is the lowest in summer season. This MUST be kept in mind as we make our food choices. Meals should ideally be light, soft and easily digestible. Intake of liquids should be aplenty. Good saturated fats like ghee or coconut oil are recommended as summer is an innately drying depleting season, and good saturated fats counter this. Fully ripe fruits should be the top choice. Cooling foods such as cucumber, coconut (water, the fruit itself), mint, and cilantro should be indulged in.

Few simple dos and don’ts for summer –


  • Eat right:
    • Easily digestible and high-energy food should be eaten. ‘Sattu’* is one such food. One should mix the ‘sattu’ with water (not too thick and too diluted either) and preferably add a few drops of melted ghee before drinking it. (*Sattu is roasted grain/cereal flour. This could be your very own home made protein drink)
    • Soups are another preferred food form in summer. If non-vegetarian, then lean meat like that of small birds, turkey and chicken can be used for the soup.
    • Moong lentil (available in Whole Foods or local Indian store) should be used frequently in the form of daal soup, ‘khichri’ etc. as it is easily digestible and high in protein and energy.
    • Products made of milk, rice and ghee (care should be taken not to make them too rich or heavy) should be eaten for maintaining energy levels.
  • Prevent dehydration: Liquid intake in the form of juice, sherbet, coconut water, herb-infused water should be ample and frequent.
  • Energize your food: Foods and drinks should be liberally seasoned with pomegranate seed powder, roasted cumin seed powder, black salt, pinch of ginger powder, sugar and other digestive spices and condiments. This takes care of the rapid salt and mineral loss from the body in this season, and also aids metabolism.
  • Protect from heat stroke: Brain is sensitive to heat. Cover head with protective gear, wear light clothes and always carry water/juice with you.
  • Be selective with your get away: Spots with lot of dense trees and water bodies should be favored for outings.


  • Alcohol intake is strongly contra-indicated in summer. If at all being used, it should be liberally diluted and had in moderate amounts.
  • Avoid or minimize all food and drinks that are ‘hot’ in potency, such as mustard, vinegar, jalapenos, hot spices, etc.
  • Heavy work, rigorous exercise and overly strenuous activities should be avoided.
  • Never step out on an empty stomach. Probability of heat stroke is higher on an empty stomach.

Hot times are ahead but with proper preparation and precaution, we can enjoy outdoors while also avoiding any mishaps. Stay cool!

Cooling dip recipe:

Amla mint chutney (dip):


  • Fresh mint leaves – 2 cups
  • Fresh cilantro coarsely chopped – 1 cup
  • Amla (gooseberry – available frozen whole or sliced in Indian stores) – about 3 whole deseeded or 15 slices
  • Green chili (optional) – 1
  • Ginger – ½ inch cube (optional)
  • Salt – as per taste

Put all ingredients in a blender. Add a little water and blend well. Serve in a bowl. Excellent cooling dip. Try with chilled cucumbers. The dash of green pepper and ginger provide just enough boost to the metabolism while not increasing body heat.