How can I beat the summer heat?

Dana is our resident certified holistic health coach. She writes articles to help expand your knowledge about health and well being.



Summer always reminds me of lemonade, fresh fruit and my parents garden. I always had to pick the peas and the green beans. Both offered the instant reward of eating as they were plucked off the vine, but I was always drawn to the fresh dill. My parents only used it for canning dill pickles, but dill can fulfill so many other uses. In fact, there are a number of fresh herbs that not only provide a fresh taste of summer, but also provide a cooling effect in the body.


How do foods provide a cooling effect in the body? It is called the diaphoretic effect. Which means certain chemicals in some foods can promote sweating and perspiration, our bodies natural cooling defense. Don’t worry, you won’t be having hot flashes from adding mint to your iced tea. Instead it allows fluid to move easily in the body, opening pores and cleansing everything out.


Some of my favorite cooling summer herbs are mint, dill and cilantro. They each offer many different health benefits. Here are just a few highlights.


MINT – promotes good digestion, boosts memory and can help alleviate headaches. Mint is a great source of vitamins and minerals including small amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C and A. For a cool summer salad add fresh chopped mint to watermelon or strawberries with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


DILL – has cholesterol lowering benefits, can help reduce depression and may even act as a natural bug repellent. It has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Dill weed contains vitamin A & C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Dill pairs well with salmon or trout and with egg salad. Try it sprinkled on freshly sliced cucumbers or add to plain Greek yogurt with a little garlic for a zippy sandwich spread or veggie dip.


CILANTRO – its star nutrients are potassium, calcium and vitamin K. Cilantro has strong antioxidant properties and also can improve sleep due to its natural ability to calm nerves. Cilantro is known scientifically as the “Coriandrum sativum”. According to Dr. Axe, Food is Medicine, cilantro has been shown to bind to toxic metals in our body loosening them from tissue and facilitating their elimination. You might recognize the word “Coriandrum” from the spice Coriander, which is the seed of the cilantro plant. In Ayurvedic medicine, coriander is considered to be one of the most cooling spices. So you might consider using the leaf and the seeds from this wonderful plant for the fullest health benefits.


Cilantro is most often enjoyed in fresh salsa and guacamole, but you can use it the same way you would use parsley as a garnish on your favorite salad or grilled meat. Coriander is most frequently used in Indian recipes such as curry dishes. It makes a great addition to any spice rub for your grilled meat.


Whatever your herb of choice, try multiple ones over the summer. Replace your salt shaker or preservative filled seasoning with something green!


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