Summertime is here, the sun is climbing to its solstice zenith, and the heat is on! As we make time for our heart’s favorite fun activities, we often forget to drink enough water. While we usually feel sluggish and foggy when this happens, we rarely pay attention to diminished digestive function that drags us down or puts us on a short fuse. When we get indigestion, constipation, feel frustrated, or aren’t on our game, we might ask about which foods or herbs might help us. Warming ginger and cooling mint come to mind, but what about simply more water?
The Small Intestine benefits from moisture since we spend perhaps 20% of our daily energy to digest and absorb nutrients. We can drink more room temperature filtered water when we wake up, before and after meals and throughout the day. We can also integrate more cooling, moist, probiotic foods into our daily meals to support the Small Intestines. One of my favorite food groups is fermented, probiotic foods. I rotate them by season to match the heat and dryness. In the springtime and winter, I like warming foods like Kimchi and miso soup broth, but in the summer, I switch to other moist and probiotic foods like raw sauerkraut, kombucha teas and probiotic pickles. These are easy additions to every meal to boost my digestion to compliment a warming outdoor fitness plan. I simply toss the foods into prepared hot or cold food at the end, but never cook them. I also like to snack on cooling foods like cucumbers, red grapefruits, tomatoes, watermelon and Chlorophyll-rich greens as well as add bitters like Dandelion, Orange or Lemon Zest and Burdock. I’ll brew my morning coffee, America’s bitter herb, with ground Burdock. Each evening, I drink Dandy Blend with coconut oil, the cheapest beverage you’ll ever try, that’s made of Dandelion and Chicory root extracts. Chicory Root contains Inulin which is a gut-beneficial prebiotic like Chlorophyll. Our intestinal flora, “or biome” of bacteria, does most of the heavy lifting and organizing of nutrients in the Intestines. In fact, it is estimated that there are over three trillion bacteria in our total bacterial biome and perhaps only 250 million cells in our entire body which means that “their” genes regulate ours. So keep ‘em happy with moist, cooling foods and some bitters as we play in the hot sun!