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Keep your cool: chillout drinks for body & mind

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With the mercury rising rapidly, it's common to want to cool off quick with a glass of chilled water or off-the-shelf carbonated drinks over ice. These are temporary fixes, but you're actually doing your body more harm than good. 

According to the Ayurvedic principles that form the basis of our holistic treatments at Balance, cold or iced drinks disrupt our digestive system - controlled by the Fire element - just as cold water douses a fire. The body then has to work harder to digest and absorb nutrients, causing our pitta (metabolism) to become imbalanced. The result is heat intolerance, mood swings, irritable bowels, increased aggression or heartburn. For more balanced solutions to the heat this summer, put that iced soda on hold and try these Ayurvedic ideas instead.

AYURVEDIC TIPS FOR A COOLER SUMMER

  • Drink at least 7-8 glasses of ­room temperature water every day, including a couple with pitta-pacifying fresh mint, a tablespoon of fresh lime juice or a teaspoon of rose water. Yoghurt-based drinks (like lassi or buttermilk) are highly effective, as are those made from raw mango (panna). Cutting back on ice-cold drinks help your stomach to feel less bloated, and you'll notice you're able to handle the heat better.

  • Fresh fruit and fresh fruit juices (not canned, frozen or from concentrate) are particularly beneficial. Watermelon juice, fresh cucumber juice, lettuce juice and tender coconut water are best. Drink at least one of these juices several times a day and note your tremendous increase in heat tolerance.

  • Cooling herbs like fresh mint, fennel, cilantro (green coriander leaves) and watercress can be juiced or pureed into chutneys to further balance pitta. Alternatively, steep them in boiling water in the morning, cool the drink to room temperature and drink the infusion throughout the day to stay hydrated while benefitting from the herbs' healing qualities.

  • Favour cooling spices like cardamom, coriander and fennel seeds in your food. Use organic rose water or rose petal conserve as a cooling food supplement or an addition to summer drinks.

  • Certain fruits like strawberries and peaches tend to irritate pitta and are known to cause rashes or allergic reactions in particularly sensitive people. If you must eat them anyways, try poaching them with a bit of sugar and cardamom instead. Serve the poached fruit with a bit of pitta-soothing fresh whipped cream as a stand-in for ice-cream, or blend with grape juice for a refreshing summer drink.

Try some of these suggestions and tell us how you felt!