Due to the El Nino phenomenon, the weather has been at higher-than-usual temperatures lately. In order to combat the extreme heat, it is advised that you limit your outdoor activities, and also consume more foods that can help you combat the toll that it can take on the body.
The hot and humid weather in the region can seriously impact our health. From heatstroke, palpitations, shortness of breath to headaches, abdominal distension, vomiting and so on, the heat can be very dangerous.
Dr. Zhao Ge, a physician at Triple-Harmony TCM Medical Centre in Singapore, recommends having light meals in smaller portions. Please also bear in mind the below:
- Consume a variety of dark green leafy vegetables, and moderate consumption of lean meat, duck and fish in replenishing the protein store.
- Avoid sweet stuff, deep fried foods and alcohol in order to preserve the hydration status of your body.
- Up your intake of ‘heat clearing’ and hydrating foods such as, large barley, white beans, red beans, etc. Peppers in moderation are another alternative in boosting gastrointestinal function and aids in the release gas caused by ‘dampness’ in the body.
- Make sure there is sufficient intake of plain water or low sugar beverages daily.
Is it okay to eat ice to combat the heat?
Slurping on ice lollies or crunching on ice cubes is a go-to for most people especially in hot weather but Dr. Zhao advises to avoid it if possible. She explained that the proper function of human organs and immune system is largely dependent on the adequacy of yang in our body (Chinese traditional medicine believes in the opposing and complementary relationships between yin and yang in the body). Eating ice can give you temporary coolness, however, the cold nature of ice could easily damage the yang in the body. The excessive consumption of ice could possibly lead to damage to gastrointestinal health, easily resulting in indigestion, abdominal pain and diarrhea thereby affecting other related systems in our body. Worse, it might damage the yang from the heart and deteriorate the functions of heart.
5 Refreshing Therapeutic Recipes
Why not prepare some ‘heat clearing’ tea or soup at home? The recipes below provided by Dr. Zhao are suitable for the whole family.
A few dried chrysanthemum flowers, dried hawthorn slice and crystal sugar to taste
Wash all the ingredients and placed them all in a cup. Add in boiled water and leave it covered for a few minutes before drinking.
Both chrysanthemum and hawthorn help in heat clearing. Not advisable for people with spleen problems or abdominal distention.
Snow pear soup
1 medium snow pear, 3 figs, 3g fritillaria
Clean and cut snow pear into cubes. Combine pear, figs and fritillaria together in a claypot. Add in moderate amount of water and cook on low heat for 30 minutes. Serve.
The three ingredients have the ability to clear heat, retain moisture and curb thirst. Not advisable for people with diarrhea.
Green bean, barley and wintermelon porridge
20g green beans, 30g barley, 200g wintermelon, 50g white rice (approximately 2-3 servings)
Clean all the ingredients and cut the wintermelon into cubes. Cook all the ingredients until it resembles a porridge and ready to be served.
Clears heat and dampness, good for spleen and stomach. Not advisable for people with yang deficit or stomach problems.
Ginseng Radix Tea
3g ginseng, 10g radix, 3g licorice
Wash all the ingredients, and placed them in a cup. Prepare it with boiled water and covered for 10 minutes.
Ginseng aids in benefiting Qi, radix keeps us moisture, licorice helps in promoting Qi. For use in heat stroke, thirsty, and people with excessive perspiration. Not advisable for people with spleen and stomach problems.
4 dried plums/prunes, osmanthus (optional), 25g crystal sugar
Clean the plums, add in 1litre of water and soak for 10 minutes, then add in osmanthus and cook at low heat for about 20 minutes.
Plum helps to quench thirst, while osmanthus is aromatic in nature and good for spleen and preventing one from heat stroke. Not advisable for people with excessive production of stomach acids.
Other refreshing herbs and ingredients
To clear heat and for fluid production: Sugar cane juice, coconut water, pears, figs, kiwi, lotus root, ginseng, radix, dendrobium
To clear heat and for water excretion: Melon, sponge gourd, cucumber, white beans, chinese barley, psyllium, moss rose
For heat relief: Green bean, bean sprout, watermelon, bitter gourd, watercress, lotus leaf, pei lan