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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Eating for the Summer Season

Jul 01, 2022 12:00AM ● By Jack Cincotta
Eating healthy involves many factors. One that’s sometimes overlooked is eating seasonally.

Seasonal eating simply means eating foods that naturally flourish and are at their best quality at a given time of the year in one’s general location. With summer now in full swing, this means loading up on a wide range of fruits and vegetables, as well as other cooling, hydrating and primarily plant-based foods.

From the Ayurvedic perspective, summer is the season of pitta, which is heating and intense in nature. Thus, it’s important to include both hydrating and cooling foods that help balance out this heating nature, lest one wants to chance the development of headaches, irritability, insomnia and numerous gastrointestinal disorders.

Interestingly, research on modern-day tribes (who naturally eat seasonally) shows that their gut microbiome changes from season to season, with different bacteria being more prevalent at certain times of the year. In the summer, there is a higher prevalence of Bacteroidetes and other bacteria that help digest complex carbohydrates (e.g., fruits and vegetables), which suggests further evidence of the importance of seasonal eating.

Some of the top foods to choose from in the summer include fruits such as berries, cherries, cantaloupe, melons, peaches and plums—think sweet, juicy and hydrating. However, these foods have benefits beyond extreme hydration. They also are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which promote overall health, and can even protect one from UV damage from the sun—just when it’s needed most—as research from the journal Food and Function indicates.

In the vegetable department, lettuce and other leafy greens are highly beneficial due to their cooling effect, while also helping to balance out acidity in the stomach. Some other summer superfood vegetables include bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and green beans, all of which offer hydration and plenty of nutrients. Notice that these fruits and vegetables are many of the foods seen in local farmers markets this time of year. This is the wisdom of nature, not just coincidence.

It is also a good idea to incorporate various cooling herbs and spices into one’s summer diet, such as coriander, fennel, mint, basil and cilantro. These can be added to foods, beverages, smoothies and more in order to add flavor and/or to aid with digestion and overall health.

Lastly, summer is typically geared towards a lower-fat diet, but some healthy fats are still needed. To this end, aim to include sunflower seeds, pepitas and coconut or olive oil—in moderation, of course. If animal foods are incorporated, look primarily to freshwater fish, chicken and other lean proteins.

Overall, eating for the summer season can be highly exciting and satisfying. If one eats the right foods, this will surely lead to an increase in energy, health and wellness, which makes the lively season of summer all the more enjoyable.

Jack Cincotta is an AADP board-certified holistic health practitioner and AFPA-certified holistic health coach, and holds a Master of Psychology degree. He runs a holistic health practice specializing in mental health concerns while also writing for numerous health websites. For more information, call 920-650-7674, email [email protected] or visit