Fire rules the energies of the Heart and the Small Intestine. In Chinese medical theory, these organs relate to discernment. The Heart is the Emperor of the body, so it is the ultimate decider. The Small Intestine is counsel to the Emperor and has the the ability to separate the pure from the impure. Thus, together their energies help one the follow his/her heart.
Fire is a yang element. Summer expresses the characteristics of yang. Summer is the time for expansion, growth, lightness and brightness. It is a time for outward activity and creativity. It is a great time to get outside and enjoy your community. Awake in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment.
In Chinese medicine, one can embrace the energies of the season for health and growth. One way of doing this is by syncing yourself with the season through diet. Fruits and vegetables are bountiful in the summer, so it is the best time to enjoy them in plentiful amounts. Cook lightly and enjoy spices in the summer. Spices relate to the fire element and are pungent to help promote sweating. Sweating is a way that the body can vent the excess heart that builds internally during the summer. It is tempting to overindulge in cold foods such as iced drinks and ice cream during the summer.However, to much cold causes contraction which opposes the natural energetic flow of the season which can create disharmony in the body. Thus, during the summer when kids eat too much watermelon and ice cream while swimming at the pool, they then are later complaining of stomachaches. Some foods are cooling and are good during summer, just not in excess. Most of the year, I discourage my patients from eating salads and tofu. During the summer it is a good time to eat salads, sprouts and tofu. Fruits are also refreshing and cleansing. The best ones for gentle internal cooling are watermelon, cucumber, apples, lemons and limes. These are fruits that tend to cool the body and move the Qi without being intensely cold and contracting like ice cream and excessive iced drinks. Warm beverages can also be internally cooling. Teas such as chrysanthemum, mint and chamomile are cool in nature and help to disperse internal heat like spices can, but without the sweating.
Enjoy the summer! Embrace your seasonal garden fruits and vegetables. Reach up to the Yang energy of the sun for growth and nourishment. Get out with your neighbors and friends for barbecues and good times. The more you can sync with nature, the more it will support your health.